Dysphagia is a clinical condition where individuals have difficulty swallowing and eating, which can be caused by conditions such as dementia. Dysphagia can cause dangerous health consequences if left untreated, making it important to understand the challenges posed by dysphagia in dementia cases and the available treatment options. Below we look at the symptoms, causes and treatment of dysphagia in patients with dementia.
Symptoms of Dysphagia in Dementia Patients
The signs of dysphagia vary depending on the type of dementia and severity of the condition. Generally, symptoms of dysphagia include coughing during or after swallowing, excessive drooling, an inability to swallow liquids or solids, difficulty initiating a swallow, and pain or discomfort when trying to swallow.
Causes of Dysphagia in Dementia Patients
Most often, dysphagia occurs as a complication from another medical condition such as dementia. In this situation, dysphagia is caused by structural changes that occur within the brain resulting from neurological damage caused by dementia. This neurological damage affects areas responsible for normal swallowing reflexes needed for safe swallowing.
Diagnosis and Evaluation of Dysphagia in Dementia Patients
Dysphagia should be identified early on as part of an effective treatment plan for dementia patients. To diagnose dysphagia in dementia patients, doctors will typically perform a physical exam to evaluate oral motor skills needed for controlled swallowing and assess any potential risks associated with chest congestion or aspiration due to the patient’s condition. A doctor may also order modified barium swallows (MBS) or video swallow studies (VSS) to help identify any issues related to safe swallowing among patients with dysphagia.
Treatment Options for Dysphagial Cases Involving Demented Patients
Treatment options depend on the specific type of dysphagial case involved but typically involve physical therapy exercises such as chin tuck postures along with special diets modified to account for limited mobility or reduced muscle control from underlying conditions like dementia. In some cases, surgery may also be required if more severe complications are present.
In order to effectively treat any dysphagial disorder among those living with dementia, diet modifications may be necessary. People with dysphagia may need to switch to a softer diet in order to make swallowing and eating easier. This could include foods such as pureed meats and mashed potatoes. Care should be taken to ensure that the right consistency and texture of food is used so as not to cause difficulties in the esophagus or stomach during ingestion. Thickening agents can be added to liquids, even alcohol, to manage the risk of aspiration. Learn how to thicken alcohol with SimplyThick gel by following the link.
Additionally, calming activities prior to meals such as neck massages and warm drinks may help individuals remain relaxed while they eat since stress can make swallowing more difficult.
Understanding how dysphagic diseases affect those living with dementia is important for recognizing the signs and putting a plan in place. With prompt detection and appropriate treatments tailored specifically towards individual needs, it is possible to maintain healthy eating habits despite existing conditions scoopkeeda.