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Stroke and Dysphagia

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Radoslaw’s story

“I’m 33 and had a stroke 2 years ago. It took me 5 months to start speaking again. I received medical nutrition products and it’s safe to say that thanks to that I’ve regained my weight from before the stroke.

My goal with my physiotherapist is to walk again on my own. You can’t give up. You have to keep going. After all, it could have been worse."

“I couldn’t get out of bed. But now, with my weight regained, my goal is to walk again. You can’t give up.”

Radoslaw - Poland

How are stroke and dysphagia linked?

A stroke is distressing for both the patient and their family. It is caused by a disruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain, either by a blood clot (most common) or a weakened blood vessel. Strokes can result in problems with movement and balance, as well as a swallowing difficulty known as 'dysphagia'.

Dysphagia, which occurs in around half of stroke patients, can also be a side effect of the treatment of some forms of cancer, as well as neurological disorders such as dementia, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. It can not only be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition, but also a potentially a dangerous one, with patients at risk of choking and of developing lung problems such as pneumonia.

Role of nutrition when experiencing swallowing difficulties

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Swallowing difficulties can lead to increased anxiety at mealtimes. The risk of drinks or food ‘going down the wrong way’ leads to loss of enjoyment when eating or drinking with patients reducing their fluid and food intake out of worry. The levels of malnutrition and dehydration in stroke patients are high and can affect the recovery process.

It is important that stroke patients that have a nutritional risk are assessed by a qualified healthcare professional and, if necessary, have an appropriate nutritional management plan put in place to improve the chances of recovery.

An effective and widely used way of managing dysphagia is to change the consistency and texture of food and drinks. This makes it easier and safer for people with swallowing difficulties to control their swallow, significantly reducing the chance of food or fluids entering the lungs, and so ensuring they get the nutrition they need.

Find out more

Texture modified diet in dysphagia

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Safer, texture modified diets can be unappetizing as food needs to be blended to a specific consistency before it can be consumed. However, groups such as The Chef’s Council are working to improve the quality of life of people with dysphagia, creating recipes that are not only safer and nutritious but appetizing too.

Find out more
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Our Stroke & Dysphagia products

The Nutricia products shown from this point onwards are intended for the nutritional management of diseases and related medical conditions and therefore should be used under medical supervision.

  1. Clavé P, Shaker R. Dysphagia: current reality and scope of the problem. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015;12(5):259-70.

Research into stroke and dysphagia

Our research and development in this field is aimed towards finding ever-more innovative nutritional solutions that aid recovery and improve the quality of life of stroke patients.

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Safety of swallowing

Prof. Pere Clavé Director of Academic Studies and R&D - Hospital de Mataró - Catalonia, Spain, speaks at ESSD 2018 on safe swallowing in post-stroke oropharyngeal dysphagia: does viscosity matter?

Find the presentation here (healthcare professionals only)

Dysphagia Act

We want to improve the lives of patients and carers living with dysphagia by providing solutions for safe, nutritious and enjoyable mealtimes.