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BillBRNC

Aspiriation Fluid

8 posts in this topic

I'm sure many of you have experienced this, so it probably is not big deal, but it has been for me. I'm 66. When I drink slowly and carefully, I don't have a problem, but when I drink a little quicker particularly water, it goes down the wrong pipe. It is not pleasant, as I'm imagine you know. Is there some type of solution. I already take Sinemet, so what else can I do other than try to drink slowly. I have Dementia with Lewy Bodies, so my brain doesn't work as well to control or remember things I need to do, so this dang problem happens too often for my liking. Any suggestions. Thanks.

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Ask your MDS or neurologist to order a swallow study. This is done under the guidance of a Speech/Swallowing MD. Based on what s/he sees on the fluoroscope, they may give you swallowing exercises to do or suggest thickened liquids. Do it soon!            

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I agree with Dianne! The first step should be an evaluation by an ENT specialist. He may perform -if needed- a flexible laryngoscopy- to watch you swallow solids and liquids and evaluate your condition (flexible laryngoscopy is a very simple and well tolerated procedure, nothing to worry about). The next step is a speech and swallowing therapist (not necessarily a MD) with expertise in functional/neurological dysphagia !! Based on the evaluation of the ENT, and under the guidance of your neurologist, the therapist will inform you on all your options, give you valuable tips that will help you swallow safely and start you on specific exercises for muscles involved in swallowing. Expiratory muscle strength training is an example of physiotherapy which has shown excellent results in improving swallowing difficulties. Other much simpler exercises, such as chewing gum, may also help!!!

My dad -who also has Parkinson's- has significant swallowing difficulties. We have just finished the first step -the ENT evaluation- and are now looking for a therapist so that he starts therapy as soon as possible.

Swallowing is a very important function and  you should follow "aggressive" treatment to preserve it.

Good luck and keep us posted!

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I had an idea it would be something like this. I will talk with my neuro when I see him next, which should be in a week or so. Thanks, so now I know it is something to important to have looked at and hopefully mitigated.

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Working with a SLP can definitely improve things, it has for me. A few more ideas to try until you see your doctor. It will take experimenting, what helps is different for everyone -

- try different temperature water, everything from ice cold to hot. See if one temperature is easier

- try different sized drinking glasses, wider, deeper, small opening. Goodwill is a cheap way to do this

- see if straw or no straw is better

- some people swallow carbonated water better than flat

- some people a strong flavor helps, sour, sweet, try different water enhancers

- how you hold your body is important - sit up straight and then try holding your head in different positions, chin tucked or up, right left and every thing in-between. For me the best position is head slightly tucked and turned to the right, but that's me.

- lastly my favorite thickener is "thicken up clear". I buy it from Amazon. Doesn't clump or taste awful.

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FF, thanks for the ideas. I've been experimenting with some similar things, plus reading on Goggle about exercises for swallowing. It all seems to help some, but no a lot. I'm looking forward to seeing someone who knows a little more about it. Thanks again.

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It's definitely a very concerning symptom, isn't it.  So quickly could be fatal.  Excellent that you've brought this topic forward.

I've had a few episodes after having chewed and swallowed chicken--that just wouldn't go down.  It was an awful feeling--panic producing, actually.  I recently had bought a milkshake, and after every single sip I would cough.  I didn't understand why.  Then I read that it is the body's way of trying to get the liquid down the right pipe.  So I must have waited too long in between sinemet doses...which happens almost  every time I go somewhere.  I forget all about taking sinemet.  I've been trying to find a watch with a timer, but not a big sports watch--just a normal old-fashioned women's watch, but with a timer.  I don't use a cell phone except for emergencies or expected calls, so that possibility is out.  I'm trying to relocate where I found a timer that is worn on the wrist with a pillbox attached underneath.  I thought that might work, except it's not very discrete.   Any suggestions?

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I had not thought about Sinemet running out could make aspiration worse, but I guess that would be more than possible, maybe probable. I plan to keep  that in mind all the time from now on. Thanks for sharing the information.

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