Swallowing Disorders Impact Millions of Americans
It is a common, everyday action that most people take for granted … we’re talking about the act of swallowing. However, swallowing food or medicines is severely difficult for a lot of people, especially those suffering from dysphagia.
According to the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, dysphagia affects almost 15 million adults in the United States alone, and 1 in 25 people will experience some form of dysphagia in their lifetime.
Dysphagia is the medical term used to describe swallowing difficulties. For some people with dysphagia, swallowing certain foods or liquids takes more time to get from their mouths to their stomachs and in extreme cases it is entirely impossible to swallow. People with dysphagia often cough or choke when eating or drinking, bringing food back up, even through the nose … often causing pain and discomfort.
Dysphagia generally falls into one of two main categories, esophageal or oropharyngeal. Esophageal dysphagia is described as the sensation of food getting stuck or hung up in the base of your throat or in your chest after swallowing. Causes of this include: achalasia, diffuse spasm, esophageal structure, esophageal tumors, foreign bodies, esophageal ring, GERD, eosinophilic esophagitis, scleroderma, and radiation therapy. Oropharyngeal dysphagia refers to people having certain conditions that can weaken the throat muscles making it difficult to move food. Causes include: neurological disorders, neurological damage, pharyngoesophageal diverticulum, and cancer.
Treating dysphagia will vary depending on its type and cause. There are three common treatments which include exercise to strengthen specific muscle groups, adjusting the position of the head and neck when swallowing and following a specific diet.
When it comes to taking medicines, people with dysphagia have a new option to help them swallow the pills. It’s called MEDCOAT®. It’s a slick coating that allows pills to slide smoothly down the throat. It’s perfect for alleviating the sharp edges of pills that need to be halved or quartered, and eliminates the need to crush tablets or open capsules. The special coating applicator is easy to use and works on any size or shaped pill or capsule. The coating dissolves quickly allowing the medicine to do its job. Another MEDCOAT® benefit is that it covers up the bad taste of medicines, coming in three flavors – citrus, strawberry or cola.
One customer spoke about how MEDCOAT® helped her with a new prescription, “I was prescribed a new medication and struggled terribly to swallow the large pills. I cannot overstate how wonderful it is to have a product like MEDCOAT® make the unpleasant task of swallowing pills a much more pleasant one.” She is just one of many people who are now finding relief with MEDCOAT®.