Understanding Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder characterized by difficulty moving food from the mouth to the stomach, including all behaviroal and physiological aspects of the process (Leopold & Kagel, 1996). Dysphagia occurs in all age groups and may result form a variety of structural or physiological abnormalities. Difficulties can occur in any of the four stages listed :

  • Preparatory (chewing)
  • Oral (back of mouth)
  • Pharyngeal and
  • Oesophageal (toward the stomach)

What Causes Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is generally the result of another type of health disorder. There are two diverse types of dysphagia which can occur;

  • High dysphagia: this occurs within the mouth or throat area
  • Low dysphagia: this occurs in the oesophagus, also known as oesophageal dysphagia

Numerous situations can result in the development of dysphagia. These include:

  • Sustaining a brain injury
  • Various birth defects
  • Being born with a cleft palate
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Gastroesophageal ailments, such as reflux
  • Suffering a heart or lung condition
  • Developing cancer within the head or neck region
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Various sensory problems
  • If you have recently suffered a stroke

Treatment Of Dysphagia

Intervention designed for the preparatory and/ or oral stage is known as ‘feeding’ techniques, whereas, intervention designed for the pharyngeal stage is known as ‘swallowing’ therapy.

There a two essential goals that are paramount to the treatment and management of dysphagia:

  1. Prevention of aspiration, malnutrition and dehydration and
  2. Reestablishment or oral intake of food and liquid.

This can be attained through the retraining of muscle function, teaching new sequences or muscle activity, or stimulating increased sensory input.

Let’s Face Dysphagia Today

If you need help over coming dysphagia, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Speechworx team today. Give us a call or send us an email to confirm your appointment now.