What could happen if you have difficulties swallowing?
- Aspiration pneumonia develops when food/liquid enters the lungs
- Difficulty breathing
- Malnutrition happens when the body doesn't get enough nutrients
- Dehydration happens when the body doesn't have enough water
Who might have a swallowing problem?
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Brain injury (TBI)
- Head/neck cancer
- Head/neck trauma
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
- Vocal cord pathology
What are the symptoms of a swallowing problem?
- Unable to hold food/liquids in your mouth
- Trouble chewing
- Trouble moving food/liquids from the front to the back of your mouth
- Difficulty starting a swallow
- Sensation of food stuck in the throat while eating
- Coughing/choking while eating/drinking
- Pain when swallowing
- Wet voice after swallowing
- Difficulty breathing while eating
- Recurrent aspiration pneumonia
How do you find treatment?
- Get a referral from your physician
- You will then be evaluated by a physiatrist (a medical doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation) and a speech-language pathologist
- A detailed medical and swallowing history will be taken
- You will be observed eating/drinking different foods and liquids
- If needed, a Modified Barium Swallow Study aka Video Evaluation of the Swallow may be recommended
- This is a relatively short exam, where an x-ray machine (operated by a radiologist) takes images of the mouth and throat while the patient is swallowing different consistencies of foods/liquids coated in barium
Swallowing Therapy may be recommended if a swallowing problem is identified. Our highly skilled speech-language pathologists are trained to develop an individualized plan to effectively treat your swallowing issues.
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