The Crucial Role of Food Thickeners in Managing Dysphagia

Food thickeners are more than just supplements for patients suffering from dysphagia, although they are often known as dysphagia supplements. These play a critical role in the actual treatment and management process, so it would be inappropriate to limit their applicability and usefulness as health supplements, since they are not optional in severe cases of dysphagia. Taking a closer look at what they do and how they help in managing dysphagia should help us in developing a better understanding of their importance.

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The Crucial Role of Food Thickeners in Managing Dysphagia
[ image: pexels by anete lusina ]


Food Thickeners are Essential, Not Optional

Short of intravenous feeding, cases of extreme dysphagia can lead to complete dehydration, starvation, and consequent death. Attempting to eat or drink can also result in death due to choking hazards. This would mean that someone with an extreme case of dysphagia would have to give up on normal life completely, forced into always staying close to their bed and intravenous feeding tube.

Food thickeners such as SimplyThick change that seemingly hopeless situation quite drastically, making a social life away from the feeding tubes quite feasible. On mixing with almost any type of liquid food, water or even canned beverage, the liquid becomes more viscous and completely nonhazardous for dysphagia patients to consume. As should be easy to imagine, this makes the food thickener a lifechanging and lifesaving part of the management process in place for extreme dysphagia.

How Do Food Thickeners Work Exactly?

Food thickeners work on two primary principles, which are:

• Raising the consistency of any liquid so that the drink doesn’t end up entering the airway

• Adding stretchability to liquids, so that the bolus head movements are not fast enough to cause problems while swallowing

Dysphagia food thickeners come with proper numbers to indicate the included filament’s stretchability. Given that most geriatric patients might not understand the correlation, they might also have labels on them such as nectar, honey, or pudding to indicate a particular product’s consistency (thickness and stretchability) in an immediately relatable manner.

Food Thickeners Can Save Dysphagia Patients from Malnutrition

Unknown to many, various conditions can lead to dysphagia and not all of them are geriatric. It might not be possible to receive all essential nutrients via feeding tubes, while younger patients might not even want to. Food thickeners present a safe, non-intrusive, and acceptable way to consume mushy food and nearly any liquid, even in public. Irrespective of a patient’s age though, nutrient-enriched food thickeners add more value to every meal or drink that the patient eats or drinks.

Be it growing children, teenagers, adults or seniors, food thickeners make it possible for dysphagia patients to maintain their nutritional requirements, keep themselves hydrated and lead a semblance of social life. They are therefore every bit as crucial for managing dysphagia as the prescription meds used to manage the condition’s severity. In fact, to deliver certain types of medication that are meant for any other associated or non-associated disease, the same thickeners are often crucial as well.

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