Let us know if you'd like to see other terms in the glossary!
Dysphagia or Swallowing Disorder
Dysphagia is a medical term defined as 'difficulty swallowing.' Swallowing disorders can occur in all age groups, resulting from congenital abnormalities, structural damage, and/or medical conditions. Swallowing difficulties can have serious consequences including weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration and pneumonia. Common causes of swallowing problems (dysphagia) include stroke, head injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), developmental disabilities (Down’s syndrome), head and neck cancer and treatment of head and neck cancers, and the presence of a tracheostomy tube. Some signs and symptoms of swallowing difficulties or dysphagia include the inability to recognize food and taste it, difficulty placing food in the mouth, inability to control food or saliva in the mouth, difficulty initiating a swallow, coughing, choking, unexplained weight loss, gurgly or wet voice after swallowing, nasal regurgitation, multiple swallowing on a single bit of food, and patient complaint of swallowing difficulty.
An examination that lets your doctor look into your throat, your voice box (larynx) and vocal cords with a scope (laryngoscope). There are two types of laryngoscopy, and each uses different equipment. Indirect laryngoscopy is done in a doctor's office using a small hand mirror held at the back of the throat. Your doctor shines a light in your mouth and wears a mirror on his or her head to reflect light to the back of your throat. Some doctors now use headgear with a bright light. Indirect laryngoscopy is not done as much now because new flexible laryngoscopes let your doctor see better and are more comfortable for you. Also referred to as Direct fiber-optic (flexible or rigid) laryngoscopy. Direct laryngoscopy lets your doctor see deeper into your throat with a fiber-optic scope. The scope is either flexible or rigid. Flexible scopes show the throat better and are more comfortable for you. Rigid scopes are often used in surgery.
A swallowing advisor or clinician with a Master of Science degree from an accredited University, specializing in Speech Language Pathology. A Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) is often received at the same time.
Physician in the broad sense, usually in North America, now applies to any legally qualified and licensed practitioner of medicine. In the United States, the term physician is now commonly used to describe any medical doctor holding the degrees of (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. The American Medical Association uses physician in this broad sense to describe all its members.
A master’s degree is the most common level of education among speech-language pathologists. Licensure or certification requirements also exist, but vary by State. Speech-language pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency.
Many swallowing disorders may be helped by direct swallowing therapy. A speech pathologist can provide special exercises for coordinating the swallowing muscles or restimulating the nerves that trigger the swallow reflex. Patients may also be taught simple ways to place food in the mouth or position the body and head to help the swallow occur successfully.
Texture: Chopped Food
Chopped foods are ~1/2 inch pieces. We at Blossom Foods place our cooked items into a commercial grade chopper and continue to test the texture throughout the cutting and chopping process. These pieces of food are similar in size to uncooked elbow macaroni or croutons (small bread cubes).
Texture: Ground Food
At Blossom Foods we define ground foods as blended to a ground/minced texture or ~1/8 to 1/4-inch pieces. These pieces of food are similar in size to rice. We use a commercial chopper to assure consistency in size for this texture. This texture allows for less chewing time and often makes it easier to swallow.
Texture: Pureed Food
Pureed food generally has a cohesive, mashed potato or pudding-like consistency with no lumps. Food is pureed in a food processor to achieve a consistent smooth and easy-to-swallow texture. Blossom Foods' pureed items taste as close to the regular food item as possible, while easing the chewing and swallowing process.