Dysphagia is the medical term for the symptom of difficulty in swallowing. Swallowing occurs in various phases with various muscles controlling each phase. Symptoms of dysphagia may include: difficulty chewing solid foods, pocketing foods in mouth, difficulty initiating a swallow, coughing, choking, sensation of food stuck in throat or chest, wet/gurgly vocal quality, and/or pain when swallowing.
When dysphagia goes undiagnosed or untreated, patients are at a high risk of pulmonary aspiration and subsequent aspiration pneumonia, secondary to food or liquids going into the lungs. Undiagnosed dysphagia can also result in dehydration, malnutrition, and in severe cases, death.
Our SLP team focuses on assessment, identification, and treatment of swallowing disorders to decrease risk of aspiration. Dysphagia management includes: isolation of the problematic phase of swallow, therapeutic stimulation, specific exercises to strengthen swallow musculature, diet analysis and consistency recommendation, education, and safe swallow strategy development.
Videofluorosopy Swallow Studies (VFSS) may be necessary to objectively evaluate swallow physiology under x-ray images; and our team completes these evaluations through North Ottawa Community Health System. Specific treatment plans can be developed based on results from this test.
Our SLP team is dedicated, knowledgeable, and ready to help you or your loved one with your needs! Call to make an appointment today!