Did you know that one in six Americans over the age of sixty is having trouble swallowing? The disorder is called dysphagia. Those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, oral-head-neck cancer or who have had a stroke are at increased risk for dysphagia. Because the condition can develop gradually, the warning signs are often missed.
Warning signs for dysphagia include: painful swallowing, the feeling that food is stuck in the throat, extra effort and time needed to swallow, a “gurgly” voice after drinking, unintended weight loss, recurrent urinary tract infections and fear of eating. Left untreated, dysphagia can lead to malnutrition, dehydration and aspiration pneumonia.
If you have questions, there is a simple screening tool that has been developed by doctors and speech therapists that can help determine whether you need seek care and intervention. For a free copy of the screening tool, please contact me at: Laura@dysphagiasupplies.com.