Common causes include: Normal aging (weakening of mouth/throat muscles) Acid reflux (GERD) Stroke. Cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
What is the most likely reason older adults have difficulty swallowing?
Aging. Due to natural aging and normal wear and tear on the esophagus as well as a greater risk of certain conditions, such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease, older adults are at higher risk of swallowing difficulties.
How can elderly improve their swallowing?
As example, you may be asked to:
- Inhale and hold your breath very tightly.
- Pretend to gargle while holding your tongue back as far as possible.
- Pretend to yawn while holding your tongue back as far as possible.
- Do a dry swallow, squeezing all of your swallowing muscles as tightly as you can.
Why do elderly lose ability to swallow?
Older adults’ teeth are often weak or absent. The mucosal surfaces in the mouth and throat are less moist. There is a loss of muscle strength in the mouth and throat that slows swallowing and makes it difficult to swallow hard or dry solid foods.
How is dysphagia treated in the elderly?
- Postural adjustments.
- Swallow maneuvers.
- Diet modifications: modification of foods/liquids.
- Thickened liquids.
- Limitations of thickened liquids.
- Modified food diets.
- Limitations of modified solids.
- Feeding dependence and targeted feeding.
When should I be worried about trouble swallowing?
You should see your doctor to determine the cause of your swallowing difficulties. Call a doctor right away if you’re also having trouble breathing or think something might be stuck in your throat. If you have sudden muscle weakness or paralysis and can’t swallow at all, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
What medications cause trouble swallowing?
Drug classes that may contribute to difficulty swallowing include neuroleptics, chemotherapy agents, antihypertensives, tricyclic antidepressants, anticholinergics, antihistamines, antiparkinsonian agents, and other drugs that impair saliva production.
How do you feed an elderly person who can’t swallow?
Avoid feeding them breads with raisins, nuts or seeds, along with hard, dry crackers or cereals. If they can tolerate thin liquids, first moisten the cereal, bread or crackers with milk or another liquid. Rice or pastas that are well-cooked are also good choices for those with a swallowing impairment.
How do you cure swallowing problems?
Treatment for dysphagia includes:
- Exercises for your swallowing muscles. If you have a problem with your brain, nerves, or muscles, you may need to do exercises to train your muscles to work together to help you swallow.
- Changing the foods you eat.
What to feed someone who has trouble swallowing?
Choose foods that are easy to swallow. Try breakfast foods like instant oatmeal, grits, pancakes, waffles, and cold cereal that has been softened in milk. For a main dish, try chicken, tuna or egg salad, soups and stews, soft cooked fish, tofu, and meatloaf.
What is a swallow test for the elderly?
A bedside swallow exam is a test to see if you might have dysphagia, which causes trouble swallowing. Dysphagia sometimes leads to serious problems. When you swallow, food passes through your mouth and into a part of your throat called the pharynx.
What are the signs that a person may have dysphagia?
Other signs of dysphagia include:
- coughing or choking when eating or drinking.
- bringing food back up, sometimes through the nose.
- a sensation that food is stuck in your throat or chest.
- persistent drooling of saliva.
- being unable to chew food properly.
- a gurgly, wet-sounding voice when eating or drinking.
Can heart problems cause trouble swallowing?
— Difficulties in swallowing are rarely caused by cardiovascular diseases. In patients with chronic mitral valvar lesions such symptoms have occasionally resulted from direct mechanical compression of the esophagus by the elevated pressure in the dilated left atrium.
What is the best medicine for dysphagia?
Diltiazem: Can aid in esophageal contractions and motility, especially in the disorder known as the nutcracker esophagus. Cystine-depleting therapy with cysteamine: Treatment of choice for patients with dysphagia due to pretransplantation or posttransplantation cystinosis.