Most of us take swallowing for granted, so, imagine what it would be like to be eating out with friends, worried that you won't be able to enjoy dinner because the food won't go down like it should.
Difficulty swallowing is actually a very common condition. That's the subject this time for Dr. Tedd Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell is President of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and he has some ideas that may help. This is the President's Prescription:
Problems with chewing and swallowing, also known as dysphasia, can result in things like drooling, choking, pain with swallowing and even difficulty taking your medication.
Dysphasia can be caused by muscle weakness, by trauma to body structures used for swallowing, by neurological and by gastrointestinal disorders like stroke and chronic heartburn. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates approximately 15 million people in the U.S. demonstrate some form of dysphasia.
Traditional dysphasia treatments, including exercises, safe swallowing strategies and diet modifications have been widely used by speech language pathologists for years. But the addition of a relatively recent dysphasia treatment using neuromuscular electrical stimulation is gaining momentum.
Electrical stimulation activates both muscles and peripheral motor nerves that coordinate swallowing structures. This allows for muscle strengthening and improvement in swallowing control to recover safe swallow functioning.
Not everyone with dysphasia is a candidate for neuromuscular electrical stimulation. Folks that have muscle weakness or neurological disorders benefit most. Ask your doctor which treatment is right for you.
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