Many people these days know about the dangers of falling in the elderly. A fall…
a fracture…a funeral is an all-too-common sequence. Swallowing difficulties, too, can be a major threat to the well-being and survival of an elderly person and others.

Swallowing Problems: Common And Serious This book came about because Roya, a speech-language pathologist, was seeing patient after elderly patient with swallowing problems.They had a wide variety of disorders: Parkinson disease, stroke, Alzheimer disease, multiple sclerosis, head injury, cancer of the head and neck, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and head injury to name a few. They all had swallowing problems!

To make matters worse, their list of medicines was often nearly as long as their arm. And these medicines had the potential of causing, or worsening, their swallowing difficulties.

A Knowledge Gap

The patients themselves often did not understand their swallowing problems — how serious they were and why it was important to follow the treatment plan.

Sometimes their lack of understanding was due to a neurologic disorder (such as Alzheimer disease or head injury). At other times it was because they were overloaded with complex information or noone had taken the time to explain what was going on.

Busy Caregivers

Their loving, caring family members, too – busy with their own work and parenting responsibilities — often had a limited grasp of swallowing issues.

Their elderly parents often have a complex mix of medical problems – for example, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and renal failure – all in one person!

Down on the List

Somewhere down on the list – if it was on the list at all! – were “Swallowing Problems” (also known as dysphagia).

Without a doubt, many other persons have unrecognized swallowing problems. They cough. They choke. They get repeated pneumonias. They weaken. They die.

A Little Knowledge….Can Be Life-Saving!

Recognizing this “knowledge gap,” we wanted to empower patients, their families, and the public in general with knowledge:

  • Give them a basic understanding of swallowing
  • Show them where things can go wrong
  • Tell them what to look for
  • Discuss how otherwise helpful medicines can cause or contribute to swallowing problems
  • Give them tools to communicate more effectively with their doctors so they can obtain proper evaluation and treatment for their loved ones that can extend and improve their quality of life.

What’s Your Swallowing Story?

Almost everybody we meet has a swallowing story. People tell us about an elderly aunt who fears that choking, not cancer, will kill her. They tell us how they were eating carelessly at a banquet and found themselves on the receiving end of a Heimlich maneuver that saved their life.

We, too, have shared some of the problems you are facing. For we have cared for close family members with swallowing difficulties related to cancer and stroke.

It’s not just about the elderly. Medical or neurologic disorders at any age can be associated with serious swallowing problems. We hope this book will make you more mindful of your own swallowing and prevent problems that you or your children might encounter.

A woman caring for her elderly mother said recently: “Dr. Sayadi, we wish we’d learned about swallowing years ago!”

We hope that this book will help you in your loving endeavor to help special persons in your life to SWALLOW SAFELY.

Click Here to view the Table of Contents for SWALLOW SAFELY.

Click Here to read an Excerpt from Chapter Two of SWALLOW SAFELY.

Click Here to read/print: Letter For Your Doctor.

Click Here to read Testimonials and Reviews for SWALLOW SAFELY.

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