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Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing is a serious medical condition that can have a profound impact on a person's life. If you have been diagnosed with the condition or have a friend or loved one with difficulty swallowing, it's important to understand the challenges that the condition presents. Also know that there are solutions available to make life with dysphagia easier. Walgreens carries a number of products developed for people with difficulty swallowing that can improve quality of life.
People who suffer from dysphagia may physically be unable to swallow or experience severe pain while swallowing that makes the task impossible. Many additional symptoms can accompany difficulty swallowing. These include changes in voice, heartburn, drooling, coughing or gagging. Dysphagia is not a disease on its own. It is actually a symptom of another underlying medical problem. People can develop dysphagia due to physical problems with their food pipe or esophagus, muscle problems in the throat, nerve or neurological problems, radiation treatments for cancer, injuries and other problems. If you or your loved one has just begun to exhibit symptoms of difficulty swallowing, it's important to talk to a doctor to find out the underlying cause. Also ask about whether or not appropriate treatments are available before trying to address the problem at home.
One of the biggest challenges faced by people with difficulty swallowing is poor nutrition. Dysphagia makes eating very challenging. As a result, many people with the condition become malnourished and lose weight, putting their health at risk. Doctors often recommend special soft food diets for people with difficulty swallowing. These diets are designed to help people with dysphagia get the nutrition that their bodies require while reducing the risk of choking. Dysphagia diets emphasize liquids and foods of a consistency that is easy to swallow. Most physicians recommend that patients with difficulty swallowing try to eat a wide variety of approved foods in order to ensure that their nutritional needs are fully met.
Eating a variety of foods on a dysphagia diet can be difficult, as many people with the condition and their caregivers lack the time required to prepare meals and then properly puree or blend them to make them safe to consume. As a result, many reputable brands produce foods specifically for people with difficulty swallowing. You can find pureed meats, vegetables and fruits in delicious varieties that are pre-packaged into individual servings for convenience. Special nutrient-rich shakes and drinks are also available in many flavors and varieties for adding to a dysphagia diet. These foods can be used to supplement home-cooked foods or even used as the primary staples of a person's diet.
To ensure your safety or the safety of your loved one, be sure to adhere to the diet recommended by your doctor. While the food for swallowing difficulties are made for people with dysphagia, your doctor may advise you against eating or drinking certain foods. By sticking to the recommended plan, you or your loved one can enjoy a healthy, safe diet for complete nutrition.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.