Like breathing, swallowing is essential to everyday life. Humans swallow at least 900 times a day, around three times an hour during sleep, once per minute while awake and even more during meals.
Around one million Australians have a swallowing difficulty. Swallowing problems can occur at any stage of life. However, the knowledge of dysphagia and its implications remain largely unknown for most Australians.
Swallowing Awareness Day 2018 is an opportunity to bring attention to swallowing disorders and to connect people with speech pathologists, the professionals who can help.
What is Dysphagia?
Swallowing difficulty (dysphagia) is any problem with sucking, swallowing, drinking, chewing, eating, controlling saliva, taking medication, or protecting the lungs from food and drink ‘going the wrong way’. It can be a problem with keeping the lips closed so that food, liquid or saliva doesn’t dribble out.
Sometimes, the first sign of a swallowing problem is coughing, gagging or choking when eating and drinking. Swallowing problems can mean food, drinks or saliva gets into the lungs and this can cause lung infections (pneumonia). Reflux is a problem where the valves in the oesophagus causes the contents of the stomach (like food, drink or stomach acid) to come back up, sometimes reaching as far up as the throat and mouth.
Help spread the word about Swallowing Awareness Day. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so share your experiences and thoughts.
Use the hashtags: #dysphagia and/or #900swallows (NB. Do not use the hashtags: #swallowing #swallow or #SAD).