A significant 10% plus of the population have currently or in the past suffered from dysphagia. While this condition is far more common in elderly people, it does affect children, teens, and young adults too. Managing the condition takes practice and patience, alongside learning the facts and coping mechanisms. These six straightforward tips are designed to make life easier if you are facing life with dysphagia.
Tip One: Managing Medication
There are many reasons why someone may need to take regular oral medication, isolated courses for infections, and so on. If this is what you are up against but feeling worried about swallowing the liquid multiple times a day, there is a simple trick for making things easier. Provided it is cleared by your doctor, you can try a product that is designed to make the liquid easier to ingest, like the SimplyThick gel thickener, which is mixed in with liquid or food and increases your ability to swallow anything you need to.
Tip Two: Get to Know Your Barriers
This condition has similar side effects and challenges for everyone, but there are naturally different triggers that will create barriers in each person’s life. If you learn what they are, you will become the expert in finding what works well as opposed to what causes problems. It might be that you adapt to a life without tougher meats, for example, and lean on softer foods instead.
Tip Three: Control Your Posture
How you sit or stand when you eat and drink is key. If you are someone who is accustomed to sitting down on the lounge chair and leaning back to enjoy an evening meal, it is time to rethink this habit. Strong posture, for example, being in an upright position so that your head and neck are held straight and stable, is essential so that there are no major barriers to the actual swallowing part.
Tip Four: Practice Swallowing Exercises
Swallowing therapy is a common treatment pathway for dysphagia sufferers. It could be a life-changing decision and enable you to manage the condition better without further intervention in the less severe cases. Hundreds of specialists are well-trained in swallowing therapies, and while learning any new skill can be tiresome, it is arguably worth it for the benefits that will come as a result of the process.
Tip Five: Learn the Cause
Dysphagia happens for a variety of reasons. Your health team will want to establish the underlying cause of the swallowing problems to rule out anything serious like cancer or Parkinson’s disease. If it is found that you are dealing with something like this, there will be other methods of management to explore as well.
Tip Six: Avoid Tired Mealtimes
Dysphagia is often exacerbated by tiredness. So, if it is possible to avoid eating and drinking while tired, you should. It is vital that you respect your body and its limitations so that you don’t cause further harm or become a victim of complications like aspiration.
These six tips will help you get to know your symptoms and how to manage them effectively. There is always a way forward if you engage with what’s in front of you.