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Dysphagia Awareness Month

Dysphagia (swallowing disorders) refers to the feeling of difficulty passing food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach. Dysphagia happens when the muscles in the mouth and/or throat become weak after illness or injury.
Some people with dysphagia have difficulty chewing food and moving it around in their mouth. Other people with dysphagia have difficulty actually swallowing the food.
(www.osla.on.ca)

The role of a Speech Language Pathologist: Includes identification, assessment and management of swallowing function and thus improving the individuals quality of life.

Causes:
One of the most common causes of dysphagia is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where stomach acids move up the esophagus.
Some illnesses or injuries can cause damage to part of the brain resulting in dysphasia.

Other causes may include
• progressive neurologic disorder
• the presence of a tracheostomy tube
• a paralyzed or unmoving vocal cord
• a tumour in the mouth, throat or esophagus
• surgery in the head, neck or esophageal areas
Symptoms:
• drooling
• a feeling that food or liquid is sticking in the throat during or after a meal
• discomfort in the throat or chest
• a sensation of a foreign body or “lump” in the throat
• weight loss and inadequate nutrition due to prolonged or more significant problems with swallowing
• coughing or choking caused by food, liquid or saliva
• small amounts of food, liquid or saliva being sucked into the lungs.

Treatment:
• Medication
• Swallowing Therapy by a Speech Language Pathologist
• Surgery
• Special Diet

The above information was obtained from www.osla.on.ca