Swallowing difficulties are a common symptom of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and can significantly impact a person's quality of life. As PSP progresses, the muscles responsible for swallowing may become weak, leading to difficulties with chewing, swallowing, and aspiration, which can increase the risk of pneumonia.
If an individual with PSP is experiencing swallowing difficulties, they should speak with their healthcare provider. The healthcare provider may refer them to a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who can perform a swallowing evaluation and make recommendations for appropriate interventions.
Here are some interventions that an SLP may recommend for individuals with PSP who are experiencing swallowing difficulties:
Diet modifications: The SLP may recommend modifications to the individual's diet, such as pureed or thickened foods and liquids, to make swallowing easier and safer.
Swallowing exercises: The SLP may teach the individual exercises to strengthen the muscles used in swallowing and improve coordination.
Adaptive equipment: The SLP may recommend the use of adaptive equipment, such as specialized spoons or cups, to make eating and drinking easier.
Positioning techniques: The SLP may recommend specific positioning techniques, such as sitting upright and tucking the chin, to improve swallowing safety and efficiency.
Medications: In some cases, the healthcare provider may prescribe medications to improve swallowing function or reduce the risk of aspiration.
It is important for individuals with PSP who are experiencing swallowing difficulties to work closely with their healthcare providers and SLPs to ensure that appropriate interventions are in place to maintain adequate nutrition, hydration, and safety.