What to do if you have swallowing problems
Swallowing problems, also known as dysphagia can be mild or severe, and can sometimes get worse over time. A person who is experiencing swallowing difficulties is likely to have faced another condition that has caused the issue with swallowing, such as suffering with Dementia, Cancer or a Stroke. It is also common after undergoing a tooth extraction procedure.
If you are having difficulty swallowing foods, you may be experiencing symptoms such as:
- Coughing or choking when consuming foods or liquids.
- Weight loss from a reduced intake of food.
- Experiencing pain when swallowing.
- Sensation of foods or liquids being stuck in your throat.
- Pain in your chest or heartburn.
If you are showing signs of dysphagia, we recommend you make an appointment and visit your GP. Initially, they will ask a few questions to establish the severity of your symptoms and decide whether they need to refer you to a Speech and Language Therapist.
To better understand your swallowing problems, the Speech and Language Therapist may run a few tests such as a chest and throat x-ray, an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy or a barium swallow test. Dependent upon the results of these tests, the Speech and Language Therapist will then recommend advice and guidance on modifying food and drinks to the appropriate texture for you.
When you are having trouble swallowing foods, it’s important to consume texture modified foods and fluids that are safe to eat. Doing so, prevents risks of choking and aspiration, which can potentially result in further complications like aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration occurs when food travels ‘the wrong way’ down the windpipe and into the lungs.
Foods to avoid with dysphagia
Being diagnosed with dysphagia can be overwhelming in the initial stages. It involves adapting your diet, since there are certain foods that can act as a risk to people suffering with swallowing difficulties, particularly if they are not blended to the right consistency. For this reason, there are certain foods you should avoid with dysphagia which you can read about here.
The extent of dysphagia you have will determine what food texture you require. Preparing meals at home using a liquidiser is an option, but it’s key for you to test your food to ensure you have blended to the right consistency and texture, making it safe to eat. You can do this using your cutlery at home using these simple food tests.
As mentioned above, you may have experienced weight loss with dysphagia, therefore it’s also important that your adapted diet contains the right nutrition to prevent other conditions such as malnutrition. We have guidance on how you can do this here.
Here’s how Wiltshire Farm Foods can help
At Wiltshire Farm Foods, we aim to make mealtimes for anyone experiencing swallowing problems or chewing difficulties much easier.
All our meals have been developed by our award-winning chefs, ensuring they are safe to eat and meeting the latest NHS texture standards. We remove the hassle of home blending, providing ready meals that you simply pop in the microwave or oven.
Our award-winning Softer Foods range consists of over 80 delicious dishes, ranging from different textures that are bursting with flavour and nutritionally balanced.
From breakfast to dinner time or even if you simply fancy a snack, we have it covered. Order a brochure and shop our Softer Foods range here. All our meals are delivered directly to your freezer with satisfaction guaranteed.