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Dysphagia

Dysphagia is the term used to describe a difficulty with swallowing foods and liquids. Dysphagia may occur when a disease or it's treatment affects the muscles or nerves needed to swallow.


A significant proportion of stroke patients experience dysphagia1. It can also be associated with conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.2

Dysphagia affects around half of all patients who have had a stroke1

Dysphagia can impact on a person's ability to consume adequate nutrition for a number of reasons, including:

  • The time taken to eat meals increases
  • Self-restriction due fear of choking
  • Loss of enjoyment and the social aspect of eating
  • A dislike for texture modified food and fluids

As a result of these nutritional challenges, people who experience dysphagia can find it hard to get the nutrition they need, and malnutrition and dehydration can occur.

Our products are pre-thickened or designed to thicken foods and fluids to make them easier to swallow


How medical nutrition can help 

Good nutrition is important to avoid malnutrition and dehydration. Providing a variety of foods that have an appetising appearance and including additional energy, protein, vitamins and minerals where possible can help to optimise nutritional intake. Providing a range of hot and cold drinks throughout the day can help to prevent dehydration.

Ensuring food and fluids are the correct texture is essential in the management of dysphagia. Food and fluid thickeners can be used to thicken drinks and pureed meals to the recommended consistency that has been prescribed by the speech and language therapist (SLT).

Healthcare professionals may prescribe pre-thickened oral nutritional supplements for those with dysphagia who cannot get adequate nutrition from diet alone. They come in a range of flavours and provide additional energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.

48% of people with dysphagia are malnourished3

References

  1. Martino R, Foley N, Bhogal S, et al. Dysphagia after storke: incidense, diagnosis and pulonary complications. Stroke. 2005;36:2756-63
  2. RCSLT. RCSLT resource manual for commissioning and planning services of slcn: Dysphagia. 2014. Accessed via http://www.rcslt.org/speech_and_language_therapy/commissioning/dysphagia_manual_072014
  3. Felt P.Nutritional management of dysphagia in the healthcare setting. Healthcare Cateres international. 2006;1:11-43

Resources

Visit our Resource Centre for a wide range of professional resources to support you and your patients.

Products

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