What’s the big deal about eating? You get the food or drink and start munching, chewing and swallowing it away. As simple as that.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are people, who, believe it or not, have difficulties with swallowing their food. When they do try to do so, they either gag or in the process of trying too hard, they start coughing or choking. All these problems point to a disorder known as Dysphagia, which can be resolved, to an extent using swallowing therapy.
Why is Swallowing Therapy Needed?
Dysphagia can lead to people having poor nutrition and hydration, acute lack of energy, pneumonia and reduced social interactions in any activity that involves food. This needs the intervention of S-LPs or Speech-Language Pathologists. They are professionals who are well-trained in the identification and offering the possible treatment of the disorder.
Apart from treating the patients using swallowing therapy, they also offer consulting and education the families and caregivers of the patients. This reduces the risks and helps maintain the health and well-being of the patients.
Who are the Ideal Candidates for Swallowing Therapy
Dysphagia can occur owing to several diseases and conditions as well, such as Alzheimer’s disease, neck cancers, stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and so on and so forth. However, it’s easier to choose the ideal candidates for swallowing therapy by dividing them according to different levels of the disorder:
1. The Oral Phase - They have problems at the very basic level. For them, sucking, chewing and moving the food and liquid in the throat itself is excruciatingly difficult.
2. The Pharyngeal Phase – They have difficulty in starting the swallowing process, including squeezing the food down their throat. They tend to close the airway so that the food or the liquid is kept out. Any food or drink that enters the airway makes them cough and choke.
3. The Esophageal Phase – They have difficulty in opening and closing the esophagus, which is the tube from the mouth to the stomach. Due to this, food may get stuck in the tube or they tend to throw up.
If these signs and symptoms are visible in someone near and dear to you, then the next course of action would be to rush them to the nearest center where you can get the best S-LPs to treat them. Remember, the sooner you start the therapy, the better the results will be for them.