Today (13 March) is Swallowing Awareness Day, an opportunity to shed light on dysphagia and who is affected by the condition.
What is Dysphagia?
Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties when eating and drinking. The condition is usually associated with other health problems like motor neurone disease (MND), dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Swallowing problems can make eating, drinking and taking medicines more difficult. It also means an increased risk of choking, chest infections and weight loss.
Some people with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing certain food or drinks, while others cannot swallow at all.
Around 95% of people with MND, 68% of people with dementia in care homes and 50% of people with Parkinson’s disease have the condition.
Swallowing Awareness Day is a chance to increase education and awareness on dysphagia and highlight how speech and language therapy can help people with the condition.
Last year #SwallowAware2018 reached more than four million people on social media.
This year #SwallowAware2019 is trending on Twitter as professionals and people who have the condition share their experiences.
There is a range of ways you can get involved with Swallowing Awareness Day.
Most importantly you can spread the word. Talk to a friend or colleague about what dysphagia is, host an informative event or use social media to raise awareness.
Take part in the Great British Blend Off and share a modified version of your favourite meal with friends and family or take the cake challenge – try eating cake without your lips, teeth or tongue.
For more ideas on how to get involved click here.
Receiving a dysphagia diagnosis can be hard to come to grips with. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with the condition there is help available.
Speech and language therapy can help people with Dysphagia to eat, drink and swallow safely. The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists provides support to people with the condition.
If you are concerned you are experiencing symptoms of dysphagia speak to your GP. To find your closest GP surgery click here.