Devices and Aids for Improved Swallowing with Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a condition that causes difficulty swallowing. As you might imagine, living with this condition makes eating and drinking challenging. If you’re currently struggling with the symptoms of dysphagia, you may be wondering what’s out there to help ease the struggle and ensure that you’re getting the nutrients and hydration you need. Fortunately, there are several options to consider. Keep reading as we explore the different types of assistive devices and food items that you might find helpful. 

  1. Thickening Agents

If you struggle with drinking, swallowing liquids, or keeping liquids down, this can lead to dehydration. When you’re not hydrated enough, it can cause headaches, dry skin, fatigue, and many other unwanted symptoms. Plus, being dehydrated can dry and close up your throat even further, meaning that your problems with swallowing foods are only worsened. Thickening agents can be added to liquids to increase their viscosity and make them easier to swallow. Opt for one that is designed to be used by people with your condition, so you can be sure it won’t alter the taste or texture. You can find out more about a company offering this product from these SimplyThick updates

  1. Positioning Aids

Often, finding a new position for your head and neck when eating can make swallowing food easier. It’s often recommended by speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and other professionals who work with people who have dysphagia. You might want to use aids such as wedges, special pillows, or chairs that are designed to keep your head and neck in the best position when eating. Ultimately, it results in a more comfortable mealtime experience and a reduced risk of swallowing. 

  1. Electronic Aids

There are various electronic aids that are designed to make it easier for people with dysphagia to swallow. These devices provide a vibration, or another kind of stimulation to the muscles that are involved in the swallowing process. Typically, they are worn around the neck, and you activate them yourself when you are eating and are ready to swallow the food. 

  1. Drinking Aids

Aside from thickening agents, you can also find a range of other drinking aids designed to make swallowing liquids easier. Straws with built-in valves, for example, can help you control the amount of liquid you are drinking to ease swallowing problems. Cups with spill-proof lids and bottles that have a straw attached are also popular options. 

Choosing the Right Assistive Devices for You

The right assistive device, aid or food product for you will depend on your needs and the type of dysphagia you have. If you are not sure, a speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist may be able to provide some recommendations and pointers in the right direction. Don’t be afraid of trying out different options – sometimes it can take some trial and error to figure out what works well for you. 

Living with dysphagia can be challenging. But the good news is that there are options available to reduce the symptoms and make it easier to live with. If you have this condition, it’s worth trying out these aids and finding the one that works for you. 

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