Did you know that humans swallow roughly 900 times per day? We do it without even noticing. Unfortunately, for some Australians, swallowing can be compromised as a result of ageing or particular health conditions (e.g. stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy).
Like breathing, swallowing is essential to everyday life. ‘Dysphagia (dis-fay-jah)’ is the medical term used to describe difficulty or discomfort in swallowing. If dysphagia is not identified or managed properly it can severely affect a person’s quality of life, increasing the risk of dehydration, malnutrition, falls and even death.1,2
Maintaining adequate hydration and nourishment whilst encouraging food enjoyment and safe swallowing is essential.
Who can help?
Speech pathologists are the professionals who assess and treat people with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) across the lifespan. To find a speech pathologist: https://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/
Nestlé Health Science provides products that support dysphagia management. Read more: https://www.nestlehealthscience.com.au/health-management/dysphagia
To hear more about the importance of Swallowing, Nutrition & Hydration in stroke, please see the Stroke Foundation’s dedicated topic page on its enableme stroke survivor platform:
Join the Speech Pathology Australia Swallowing Awareness conversation on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to share your experiences and thoughts. Use the hashtags: #dysphagia and/or #900swallows.
1. Cichero J. Thickening agents used for dysphagia management: effect on bioavailability of water, medication and feelings of satiety. Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:54
2. Volkert, D. et al. ESPEN Guidelines on Enteral Nutrition: Geriatrics. Clinical Nutrition, (2006) 25, 330–360
3. Images courtesy of Speech Pathology Australia, Australia, 2017