Stroke Victims Suffer From Lack Of Nutrients With Undiagnosed Disorder

Armen Hareyan's picture
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In honor of National Stroke Awareness month, Nestle HealthCare Nutrition is bringing visibility to dysphagia -- an often undiagnosed, secondary condition resulting from a stroke and other neurologic diseases. Dysphagia is a neurological health problem that makes swallowing extremely difficult and can lead to dangerous health threats if not managed properly. Nestle HealthCare Nutrition has developed a variety of resources and food products to help ensure that people who suffer from this condition can easily and comfortably get the calories and fluids they need to nourish their bodies.

According to the Department of Health & Human Services, more than 300,000 stroke victims suffer from dysphagia. But this condition not only accompanies strokes. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 7 to 10 percent of adults 50 years and over experience swallowing difficulty, resulting from neurological diseases or a variety of other conditions. However, it is possible that many more Americans suffer from dysphagia but it is underreported due to many patients never seeking medical treatment for the condition. (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2000).

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People with dysphagia lack the muscular coordination in the throat that helps to propel foods and liquids downward to the stomach. When this happens, food or fluids can fall into the airway. This may result in aspiration pneumonia, a serious condition. In addition, someone who cannot swallow well may not be able to consume enough of the right foods or fluids to stay healthy and hydrated. This can result in weight loss, nutrient deficiencies and the need for IV hydration.

"The biggest challenge related to dysphagia is lack of awareness around the complications that manifest from lack of management or improper management. Recognition of the issue results in earlier treatment, improving consumption of foods and fluids and overall health," said Pat Felt, Product and Clinical Affairs Manager at Nestle HealthCare Nutrition and Chair of the National Dysphagia Diet Task Force. "Proper treatment of dysphagia often requires altering the consistency of food before eating so those nutrients are more easily and safely swallowed."

Taking the lead in the nutrition industry, Nestle has developed effective nutrition products to help manage dysphagia. Many stroke victims have come to rely on products like Nestle's RESOURCE ThickenUp to help overcome the challenge of consuming adequate foods and hydration to maintain their health and avoid the consequences of foods entering the airway.

An instant thickener, like RESOURCE ThickenUp, is easy to use in hot and cold foods and beverages, is recommended by physicians and swallowing therapists and does not alter the taste of foods, improving the quality of life of stroke victims.

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