Swallow Awareness Day is on Thursday 16 March 2023 and the theme this year is ‘Dysphagia. A difficult diagnosis to swallow.’ The day raises awareness for swallowing disorders and encourages people who are experiencing swallow changes to connect with health professionals to access support.
Swallowing is essential to everyday life, on average humans swallow around 500-700 times a day. Swallowing difficulties can cause other physical effects, including weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration. Emotional wellbeing, enjoyment of food and participation in social and community activities and celebrations can also be impacted.
Dysphagia and MND
At MND NSW we recognise this day as many people who live with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) experience dysphagia, which is the medical term for difficultly with swallowing. This is because, MND can affect the motor neurones that supply the muscles in the mouth and throat and stop them working properly. Initial signs of swallow changes include coughing, dribbling, gagging or choking when eating or drinking. People may also find it takes longer to chew and to finish a meal.
There are different ways to get support, these include:
- Swallowing techniques.
- Specific diets such as a liquid or soft food diet.
- Modified utensils including, modified cups, plates and easy grip cutlery as well as collars, splints and robotic feeding device.
- Advice from a Speech Pathologist and Dietitian for strategies and information about food consistency, aids and devices, swallowing techniques and nutritional needs.
Information about Eating, Drinking and swallowing with MND
Information about Swallow Awareness Day
MND UK- Eating and Drink with MND