Stroke and Dysphagia
“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."
Stroke and dysphagia: an introduction
A stroke is a serious health event caused by a disruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain. Distressing for both the patient and their family, a stroke can result in problems with movement and balance, as well as a swallowing difficulty known as 'dysphagia’2,3. Dysphagia, which affects around half of stroke patients4, can not only be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition, but a potentially a dangerous one too, with patients at risk of choking and of developing lung problems such as pneumonia5
Dysphagia following stroke and its impact on eating and drinking
Swallowing difficulties such as dysphagia can lead to increased anxiety at mealtimes. The risk of accidently inhaling drinks or food can lead to loss of enjoyment when eating or drinking. Some patients will reduce their fluid and food intake out of worry; the levels of malnutrition and dehydration in dysphagia patients are high and can negatively impact the recovery process6-11. An effective and widely used way of managing dysphagia is to change the consistency and texture of food and drinks.
The Chefs Council: bringing haute cuisine to dysphagia cooking
Texture-modified diets are safer to eat but can be unappetizing as food needs to be blended to a specific consistency before it can be consumed. This is where the Chefs Council step in. They are a team of world-class chefs, stroke and dysphagia experts as well as patients and carers who are working hard to improve the quality of life of people with dysphagia. Together they created the Dysphagia Act, which is founded on three key principles: that dysphagia foods and drinks should not only be safe and nutritious but pleasurable too.
- Clavé P, Shaker R. Dysphagia: current reality and scope of the problem. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015;12(5):259-70.
- González-Fernández M, et al. Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep, 2013;1(3):187-96.
- Martino R, et al. Dysphagia, 2000;15:19–30.
- Martino R, et al. Stroke, 2005;36:2756–63.
- Marik PE, et al. Chest, 2003; 124: 328–36.
- Finestone HM, et al. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 1995;76: 310–6.
- Hama S, et al. Metabolism, 2005; 54:699–704.
- Yoo SH, et al. Arch Neurol, 2008; 65:39–43.
- Mann G, et al. Stroke, 1999;30:744–8.
- Daniels SK, et al. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 1998;79:14–9.
- Kidd D, et al. QJM, 1995; 88:409–13.