Swallowing Therapy (Adult Dysphagia)
Imagine sitting around the dinner table with your family, enjoying a delicious meal and the company of loved ones. Suddenly, your spouse begins to choke on a piece of food. After a few moments of panic, they are able to cough up the offending piece and catch their breath. But what if this becomes a recurring issue? What if your loved one struggles with swallowing on a regular basis? This is the reality for many individuals with dysphagia, a swallowing disorder that can impact one's ability to eat, drink, and even breathe. At Speech Therapy For All in New York, our team of speech therapists in Southampton and Riverhead are dedicated to providing effective and compassionate care for those with swallowing difficulties.
What Is Dysphagia?
For those with dysphagia, every swallow feels like an uphill battle, struggling to move food or liquids down the throat and into the stomach. This condition is dangerous on top of simply being bothersome, as food or liquid may enter the lungs instead of the stomach, leading to health complications.
Dysphagia can occur for a variety of reasons, including stroke, neurological conditions, head and neck cancer, and aging. Our team will work with you to determine the underlying cause of your dysphagia and create a personalized treatment plan to address your unique needs.
What Is the Best Way To Treat Dysphagia?
Swallowing therapy is a specialized form of speech therapy that focuses on improving the coordination and strength of the muscles involved in swallowing. This may include exercises to strengthen the tongue and throat muscles, as well as techniques to improve the timing and coordination of the swallow. This avenue is more convenient than completely modifying your diet to exclusively consist of easy-to-swallow textures and liquids.
The diagnosis of dysphagia typically involves a team of healthcare professionals, including a speech-language pathologist, a radiologist, and a gastroenterologist. During the assessment, the team will evaluate the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing, assess any risk factors, and identify any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to dysphagia. The team may also use diagnostic tools such as a videofluoroscopic swallow study or a fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing to further evaluate and diagnose the specific nature of the swallowing difficulty.
Our New York Speech Pathologists
Our mouths and throats are the gateways to our bodies and — in many ways — the key to a fulfilling life. They allow us to speak and communicate with those around us, enjoy the tastes and textures of the foods we love, and nourish ourselves in a fundamental way. When we experience difficulties with our speech or swallowing, it can impact our ability to engage with the world around us, leading to frustration, isolation, and even health complications. At Speech Therapy For All, our speech pathologists in Riverhead and Southampton understand the crucial role that these functions play in our lives and are committed to providing top-notch therapy services to help our patients lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.