Nutrition and Dysphagia

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Dysphagia is defined as having difficulty or inability to swallow (Collier, 2009). If a patient suffers from pain or discomfort then they are likely to modify their eating habits to avoid food. This can result in malnutrition and weight loss (Collier, 2009). If you feel that a patient may be rapidly losing weight it is a good idea to consult the team's dietitian (Langley, 1987). The Dietitian will be able to monitor the weight loss and provide a dietary plan for the patient that meets their caloric needs. Another problem with dysphagia is patients suffering from dehydration (Collier, 2009). It is important for a patient's hydration levels and nutrition needs are addressed.

The effort of breathing requires a high level of energy. People with COPD have been reported to use higher than needed levels of energy during swallowing due to laboured breathing (Houghton, 2008). This, conjointly with malnutrition, can cause tiredeness and little energy. When one is malnourished they have decreased lung function which can affect patient's with COPD (Houghton, 2008). It is extremely important to refer patients with COPD who are malnourished to a dietitian. A dietitian may recommend the patient to eat smaller meals so that they do not expend so much energy when eating (Houghton, 2008). Also, nutritional supplements will also be beneficial for



References:
Collier, J. (2009). Nutrition in Dysphagia. Retrieved from Dietics UK website: http://www.dietetics.co.uk/article-nutrition-in-dysphagia.asp.
Houghton, L. (2008). The nutritional development of weight loss in COPD. Best Practice Journal, 15, 16-17.
Langley, J. (1987). Working with Swallowing Disorders.Oxon, UK: Winslow Press Ltd.