On the 17th of March Speech Pathology Australia hostedSwallowing Awareness Day.
Many Australians have difficulty swallowing and it can occur at any stage of life.
Swallowing disorders or, dysphagia, can greatly affect the quality of life for sufferers. Difficulty swallowing can lead to greater risk of choking, malnutrition, and dehydration. In infants and children this can then lead to insufficient nutrients for brain development and growth.
Characteristics that may identify a swallowing difficulty:
- Babies and infants that struggle to feed on the breast or with a bottle.
- Feeling that food or drink is getting stuck or going the wrong way.
- Mealtimes that are long and eating takes more than 30 minutes.
- Coughing, choking or throat-clearing during or after eating and drinking.
- Shortness of breath or changes in breathing during eating and drinking.
- Avoidance of foods that may be difficult to swallow.
- Unexplained weight loss from lack of nutrition.
- Frequent, unexplained chest infections.
What can be done to help?
- Exercises can be implemented to improve the strength and the use of the muscles.
- Fluids can be made thicker to ensure safety when drinking.
- Different strategies and postures may be used to improve safety when eating and drinking.
- Altering the texture of foods may make eating safer.
A qualified Speech Pathologist is trained to provide therapy to individuals with swallowing disorders. Since they are educated in the muscles and mechanics required for speech, this also leads into the mechanics and muscles required for swallowing.
The Speech Pathologists at DWSP have lots of experience helping people with dysphagia and we are ready to help YOU.
Talk to our caring team to find the Speech Pathologist most suited to your needs!
Information collected from www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/swallowing