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Dysphagia and Its Impact on Quality of Life

Dysphagia is the name given to any type of swallowing issue, regardless of the severity. When a person struggles to swallow, they risk choking and getting food caught in their lungs, which can lead to further complications including pneumonia. Aside from the medical issues surrounding dysphagia, it can have an enormous impact on a person’s quality of life.

Mealtime Misery

Much of the enjoyment people get out of life comes from satisfaction at mealtimes, but this becomes challenging if you’ve got dysphagia. In particular, there may be fears nagging at the back of the mind about choking on various foods. To reduce hazards, you will need to adjust your diet to accommodate softer foods including:

  • Cereals softened with milk.
  • Well-cooked pasta.
  • Boiled fruits.

If you haven’t gathered by now, a dysphagia diet consists of super soft moist foods to help them slip down the throat. In some cases, where foods are too runny, an over-the-counter food thickener from SimplyThick can make swallowing easier.

Social Issues

Socialization is an important part of life because it helps to boost our overall mental health. Although, if you suffer from dysphagia, it can turn a simple drink or meal out into a daunting experience. To eat or drink successfully with dysphagia, it’s important to take your time to avoid choking.

If you want to dine out, there are ways to enjoy it while reducing anxiety and stress. For example, arriving ahead of your friends will allow you the opportunity to start eating first, meaning everyone is more likely to finish at the same time. Alternatively, you can choose to host friends at home to alleviate the social pressures altogether.

General Fear Around Dysphagia

The thought of being unable to eat or drink and the prospect of choking, coughing, and aspiration problems can leave a dysphagia sufferer feeling extremely frightened. If fears aren’t addressed, they can become chronic stressors, which certainly won’t help get along in life.

To reduce the fear associated with dysphagia, it’s important to accept the condition and educate yourself on how to adjust your lifestyle. In particular, paying attention to how you prepare foods will reduce the fear surrounding choking.

Preparing your food correctly isn’t the only way to alleviate fear associated with dysphagia. For example, the way you position your mouth and jaw will make an enormous difference. According to experts, you should move your chin forwards and tilt your head.

Speech Difficulties

Swallowing issues are caused by relaxed jaw muscles, and it can make it difficult to move the lips and tongue. Naturally, this means speech can become an issue, which will have a detrimental impact on life. Luckily, the muscles around the jaw can be strengthened in the same way as any other - check out this guide to find out how.

The ability to eat and drink properly, and independently, contribute enormously to the quality of life. To reduce negative feelings associated with dysphagia, it’s important to find ways of managing the condition.