Dysphagia is a disorder that is largely misunderstood by the public since it doesn’t get much attention. This is why people may have all sorts of misconceptions if they or someone they know is diagnosed with the condition. It’s essential that you know the truth about it, however. This will prevent you from making errors. You might also be relieved to know that your life won’t be as restricted as you thought. Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths about living with dysphagia.
You Will Automatically Have to Move to Thickened Liquids
There are many cases where you will indeed need to use thickeners for your liquids, but it’s not always the case. In some instances, you might be put on thin liquids and modified solids, while others will still be able to eat regular solids, but use thickened liquids. So, don’t assume that a dysphagia diagnosis means that you have to stop eating regular food.
Thickeners take the Fun out of Liquids
That’s not true, but you might have to compromise if you want roughly the same experience. It all starts with your choice of thickener. Thickeners like Simply Thick are great if you want your drinks to maintain roughly the same taste, but with a thicker consistency. You could also move to nectars and smoothies instead of juices. These are already thicker, so you’ll notice less of a difference. They also tend to be more nutritious, which is important for people on a restrictive diet.
People on Thickened Liquids Can’t Drink Water
If you thought you were going to have to kiss natural water goodbye as well, know that it isn’t necessarily the case. Dehydration is a very important issue for people dealing with dysphagia and, in some cases, pure water will be prescribed in small doses. This will usually be recommended for people who don’t have other conditions and are fairly active. That’s because water will be expelled by the body naturally if only small amounts enter the lungs.
However, you should know that the quality of your oral health will be very important here. Poor oral hygiene could lead to bacteria getting into the lungs, which could spell trouble. This will need to become a priority for you from now on.
You Can Still Eat Things Like Ice Cream and Jell-O
Now for some bad news. While you may assume that foods like Jell-O and ice cream have the perfect consistency for people with dysphagia, that’s not the case. This is because both of these foods turn into thin liquids in the mouth right before they’re swallowed, so it makes no difference.
Another thing you will have to be very careful with are foods with mixed textures, like soups and stews, for instance. Even if you’re on a thin liquid/soft solid diet, you will often be prohibited from eating food with different textures. These will usually have to be blended so they can have a consistent consistency. The results will still be delicious, though.
These are some of the most common myths floating around about dysphagia. Now that you know a bit more about the condition, you can do your research and know exactly what your life will be like from now on.