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LET'S TALK ABOUT IT  |  Carenotes | Let's Talk Archive

Let's Talk

Welcome to Let's Talk About It.  In this special section we will feature the question/topic of the month and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to participate, just follow the link provided at the end of the question/topic and add your comments and thoughts.

Question/Topic for May/June 2012

Does your loved one deal with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing?) What are the biggest issues? Have you found any solutions that work for you?

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Name: H Henninger
Location: Lexington, KY
Date: 09/21/2012
Time: 11:26 AM


In third year of caring for my now 81 y mom. Swallowing has almost always been a problem for her. SHe has always cewed her food for a small eternity and still has episodes of choking and gagging. Doctor has suggested an esophogeal stent but would really like to talk with some one in person. There are dietary restrictions while its in and I'm concerned about the removal process. It sounds like it's either super easy of an enormous PITA. Any and all comments welcome. Thanks!

Name: L.Germanetti
Location: Palm City, FL
Date: 09/16/2012
Time: 12:53 PM


I'm not sure if this is related. Every time my mother would drink anything, or sometimes even in the middle of a conversation, she would start coughing uncontrollably. She is at a wonderful ALF in Wellington, FL. They brought in a therapist who found that her mini strokes ruined the muscles at the back of her tongue and that she couldn't control swallowing. She has oral therapy and was prescribed "Thick It" to be added to her fluids and that has helped.

Date: 07/10/2012
Time: 02:25 PM


my husband keeps spitting instead of swalling his saliva. He has Alzheimer's. any this dysphagia?

Name: Debbie
Location: Southfield, MI
Date: 06/08/2012
Time: 08:23 AM


After a short but severe flu, my husband developed dysphagia, heavy sinus draining, and his voice changed. He had complete work-ups for naso-gastric, neurological, and vocal system dysfunction. Symptoms exhibited but no one had answers... oh, except for the ENT who peformed a useless septoplasty (repair a deviated septum) and then wanted to start cutting salivary nerves. My husband has just learned to live with it: eating slowly, preferring soft foods, often not sleeping well.

Name: Lydia Grybos
Location: Tampa, Florida
Date: 05/31/2012
Time: 11:50 AM


My mom was having difficulty eating even after she had healed from a fall, when she hit the back of her head and bit down on her tongue. We encouraged drinking more fluids as she complained that her throat was too dry and swallowing was not easy. She was also on an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection. I asked her PCP to check her for oral thrush, which he saw at the very back of her throat. It had not been visible to the rehab. therapists working with her. Getting on Nystatin and taking a probiotic really helped her get back on track with eating and she has had no more swallowing complaints.

Name: Mimi Pockross
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: 05/24/2012
Time: 07:45 AM


My dad who is 96 has recently stopped eating and is now only taking liquids because, as the doctor explained, his digesting capabilities have become greatly limited. For a while I was purchasing strawberry milk shakes from fast food restaurant on a daily basis because that was the only nutrition I could get him to swallow. He also likes soda and we were giving him that as well. Then he started getting edema (swelling) in his hand because of all the sugar intake. Following the caregivers' suggestions, we have come up with some solutions to lessen the sugar intake but try to make the liquids appetizing. We switched to diet soda. I bought Ensure in different flavors (butter pecan is new, but he has already rejected this). I purchase various kinds of protein shakes for him to try and buy them again if they work. I have found two different types of powdered nutrients to add to the various liquids he takes. The result is that he is a bit less weak from the additional nutrients and the edema has subsided.

Name: april z
Location: anderson IN
Date: 05/22/2012
Time: 12:32 PM


My LO is now coughing after swallowing water, primarily, and sometimes food. Is this the beginning of dysphagia? What can be done? She isn't able to follow directions any more.

Name: Susan Joyce
Location: Tennessee
Date: 05/20/2012
Time: 09:40 PM


Mom,83,has copd,diabetes,and dementia.False teeth that fit poorly are part of the problem.She has a good appetite,but doesn't seem to realise that she can't take big bites.I cut her food,encourage water sipping(through a straw helps),and remind her to chew thoroughly.I couldn't say if thin or thick liquids make a difference.She also can choke on her own saliva.I am truly grateful that she can still feed herself and enjoys every meal..whether she chokes or not.Thanks to all that have commented,it always helps me.

Name: Lisa
Location: Michigan
Date: 05/17/2012
Time: 07:07 PM


My mom suffers from esophageal spasms. It has gotten worse after her hiatal hernia and as the diabetic neuropathy has gotten worse. Sometimes she can choke on her own spit. It doesn't matter if the food is moist or dry. One of the hardest parts is that she has lost most of her bottom teeth and the partial doesn't fit well. That is hard as mom had always taken care of her teeth. I don't like for her to eat alone in case she chokes. I have had to do the Heimlich maneuver on her. She also has gastroparesis so her food has a hard time digesting. Since she had the hiatal hernia repaired, she can't throw up so she has that issue to deal with also. My aunt recently had a neck surgery and now she is having issues swallowing too. They say there is nothing we can do you know the drill - cut her food into small pieces, use lots of gravy ..... it's like the food gets stuck in her esophagus and won't move. Plus she has a few goiters. Mom is 79 and has had this issue for quite a few years.

Name: Harriett
Location: California
Date: 05/16/2012
Time: 06:29 PM


I found that antihistamines to avoid a stopped up nose, etc., helped, as did smaller more frequent meals, so that an extra-hungry eater wasn't gulping badly chewed foods. Consider pre-cut and softer foods, peas instead of corn, for instance, since peas can be slightly mashed, and if need be, for times when the symptoms are worst, taking every bite of food (and any pills) with gravy, sour cream, (there is non-fat sour cream available) pudding, yogurt or some other slide-right-down-food on the same spoon, and more in between each bite. Drinking thicker, or thickened liquids helps a lot, as does making sure the eater is sitting well upright and not slouching. It all helps. The main element in all of this is being there and sharing/supervising, as is appropriate, the meal-time experience. Beyond choking, of course, and mal-nutrition there is the problem of aspiration, and aspiration pneumonia. Hey, consider it a chance for you to sit down and get off your feet. Your attitude makes a difference too.

Name: Judy Beauchemin
Location: Branchport, N.Y.
Date: 05/15/2012
Time: 07:16 AM


My husband has had difficulty swallowing,(dysphagia) especially when taking some of his pills and when eating, for the past several years now. The problem developed gradually after his severe stroke 20 years ago. He has used thickener in his beverage and sometimes that helps, but not always. He also uses honey on a spoon with the pills and that seems to help the most. His posture is bent forward now, which is a contributing factor. It sometimes helps to pull his shoulders back.

Name: Leta Laible
Location: Toluca, Il.
Date: 05/10/2012
Time: 06:12 PM


I want to know if anyone with parkinson's has a lot of mucus?? It gets so bad at time it is chocking my husband. He is on a neblizer several times a day. It does help some. Anyone out there with any sugestions. He swallows a lot of the mucus and also has a gtube. We worry about his lungs.



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