Definition of Dysphagia
Dysphagia refers to a difficulty in swallowing or having pain during food swallowing. Dysphagia can be caused by a variety conditions. The symptoms can range from mild pain to severe swallowing difficulties and can occur in any age group.
Diets for the patient with dysphagia depend on the severity of the underlying condition. Viscosity and texture of the food play a major role in the diet needs. In mild conditions, simply chopping foods into small pieces (especially meats, vegetables, etc.) and chewing food well may suffice. More severe swallowing disorders may require pureed foods and thickened liquids. Depending on the severity of the underlying condition and the difficulty swallowing, diets must be individualized according to need. Speak with your physician or dietician if help is needed determining individualized diet needs.
- Remember to chew foods well before swallowing.
- Ensure that food to be eaten is the needed consistency (finely chopped, soft, or pureed).
- Alternate food bites with sips of liquid.
- Slow down. Take your time while eating.