Dos and Don’ts for Dysphagia

person holding bottle of smoothie beside green leaves carrots and berries

A dysphagia diagnosis is the chance you’ve been waiting for to look at things differently. It is the answer about all the things that have been causing discomfort, which is why you started the diagnosis journey in the first place. Learning ways to cope and embracing different lifestyle habits are proactive choices you can make to create an easier way of living while navigating difficult symptoms. With that in mind, here are some do’s and don’ts for dysphagia that are great starting points for anyone in this position.  

Do Take it Seriously

Dysphagia can lead to a whole manner of complications like asphyxiation that you shouldn’t ignore. Taking this diagnosis seriously means engaging with what’s in front of you in a practical way and taking a moment to figure out what will help and what will harm you.  

Don’t Hesitate to Use Thickeners

Two major concerns for sufferers of this affliction are the potential for dehydration and malnutrition. That is why thickener products like SimplyThick mix for foods and beverages exist, to ensure that swallowing difficulties have focused solutions tailored towards making eating and drinking more accessible. Thicker food creates a better arena for your mouth to chew and proceed to the swallowing process, and these products are highly effective at maintaining optimal hydration and nutritional value even on the days where things are too painful. 

Do Monitor Symptoms

Dysphagia happens for many reasons, some on the less serious side of the scale like GERD and others on the other end of the scale that require more attention, like throat cancer. So, monitoring symptoms, especially when things are taking a turn for the worse, is essential. This should be a constant, honest narrative with your doctor so that you receive the best possible care and to minimize the chance of missing red flags. 

Don’t Be Tempted by Triggers

One of the hardest things about a restricted diet is always going to be missing the things that you can no longer eat or drink. However, these are prohibited for good reason, and it can cause pain, discomfort and exacerbation if they are slipped in on a cheat day. That is why, regardless of how much you might be craving that spicy chili, you have to be strong and say no. 

Do Limit Your Alcohol and Caffeine Intake

There are plenty of alternative drinks to alcohol and caffeine that won’t make your mouth dry and cause further problems with swallowing. These are the ones you need in your life. Water is always a safe drink choice, and it is better to limit the two above because they can make you dehydrated and therefore give you a dry mouth. This will only make swallowing more difficult in general, and therefore worsen the condition. 

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Don’t Make Life More Difficult

It is only natural to want to carry on as normal, but it’s time to face the facts. Small changes like cutting up your meals into tiny pieces and eating more slowly with better posture are phenomenal in terms of positive impact on your symptoms, so let them happen. 

Dysphagia affects thousands of people, but there are tips and tricks to make the condition manageable without any major changes. 

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