Dysphagia, or more commonly known as swallowing problem or disorder is a condition where the sufferer has difficulties in the swallowing process. Oral phase swallowing disorder is when the sufferer have difficulties in chewing, sucking and moving liquid or food into the throat. If there are swallowing problems during the pharyngeal phase, the sufferer faces difficulties in trying to swallow, to squeeze food down the throat, and to close off the airway to prevent choking on food or liquid.
Swallowing problems are very dangerous as they might cause the sufferer to get choked on liquid, saliva or food, as well as cause infection to the lungs due to whatever being ingested enter the trachea instead of the esophagus. It is known that one in 17 people will unfortunately develop swallowing problems sometime in their life. In order to know if you are having swallowing problems, you should know the general signs and symptoms of dysphagia.
The general signs of swallowing problems are the likes of a wet sounding voice after food or drink, coughing during or right after drinking or eating, liquid or food gets stuck in the mouth or leaks out of the mouth, needing extra time and effort to chew on food, weight loss due to malnutrition, and suffering from recurring lung infection. Those with swallowing problems should seek immediately help as it causes dehydration and malnutrition, risk of severe lungs and airway infection, the inability to enjoy meals, as well as embarrassment in social situations.
Before undergoing therapy for swallowing problems, the diagnosis must be confirmed by a speech-language pathologist. The speech-language pathologist will evaluate the condition of the patient based on symptoms, studying the strength of muscles related to the swallowing process, observe feeding movement and behavior, as well as run tests such as modified barium swallow and endoscopic assessment.
According to studies, it is known and proven that speech therapy could help to improve and alleviate swallowing problems. We offer this here at Speech Therapy London. Speech therapy could help to improve the muscle movement and strength of the muscles involved in the swallowing process through various specialized swallowing exercises. Speech therapy will also help the sufferer to find positions on strategies on how to swallow better and effectively. Sometimes patients will need to undergo sensory stimulation activities, as well as use a therapeutic neuromuscular electrical stimulation device to help re-educate the throat muscles. Speech therapy is definitely beneficial for those who are suffering from swallowing problems.
Get in touch with us today to arrange an initial consultation, either in one of our consultation rooms, or at your home or workplace.