13 ways to decrease swallowing problems in Parkinson’s disease

Many people with Parkinson's disease experience problems with swallowing food, liquid and medications

Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience problems with swallowing food, liquid and medications

People with Parkinson’s disease may notice changes with swallowing, especially as the disease progresses. Speech-language pathologists evaluate swallowing (in addition to speech and communication skills) and provide treatment and suggestions to facilitate swallowing.

Here is some information you may find helpful.

Basic swallowing suggestions

  1. Sit upright. Bring the liquid or solid up to mouth; don’t bend your head down to the table.
  2. Start meals by taking small sip of water to moisten mouth.
  3. Take smaller bites and small sips.
  4. Swallow everything in your mouth prior to the next bite or sip.
  5. Avoid tipping head back when swallowing.
  6. Alternate swallows of liquids and solids.
  7. Eat and drink more slowly.
  8. Swallow again or swallow twice if needed.
  9. Do not try to talk and swallow at the same time.
  10. Time your medication to get maximum benefit during meals.
  11. Keep auditory and visual distractions (such as the radio, TV, conversations, etc.) to a minimum during meals.
  12. Sit upright for at least 30 minutes after eating to help prevent heartburn/reflux.
  13. Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush teeth after every meal.

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