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You are watching: Can you breathe and swallow at the same time


This leaflet has actually been created to give you and also your family general information around some of the eating and also drinking challenges you might experience together a result of having actually respiratory difficulties. Most of her questions have to be answer by this leaflet. The is not intended to change the discussion between you and the Speech and also Language Therapist, yet may act as a beginning point because that discussion. If after analysis it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please comment on this v a member that the healthcare team caring because that you.

What is dysphagia?

Dysphagia way ‘a swallowing difficulty’.As plenty of of the muscles involved in swallowing and br
eathing have double roles (Shaker et al1992), difficulties in one may lead to a challenge in the other.There space risks linked with having dysphagia including, aspiration (food going down into your lungs), choking, poor nutrition and reduced top quality of life.It is usual for individuals with breathing obstacles to have difficulties eating and drinking. 27% of civilization who experience from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) have actually a dysphagia. (McKinstry et al 2009).

How is swallowing linked to breathing?

For this procedure to happen well, the body must additionally co-ordinate the breathing cycle through the swallow. The swallow in the interim interrupts breathing. The minute you swallow, you must momentarily organize your breath come close the airway (this prevents any kind of food or liquid from beginning the lungs). The normal cycle is:Swallowing is a highly complicated process including the coordination of more than 26 muscles and 6 nerves. We swallow around 600 time a day and the regular pattern that swallowing wake up quickly and also should just take a few seconds to complete.

Breathe out –> organize breath to protect airway about 1 – 1.5 seconds (apnoeic episode) –> swallow –> proceed to breath out a tiny –> breathe in –> repeat.

People who have actually a breathing challenge may breath in after swallowing fairly than breath out. This deserve to increase the risk of food and also drink gift inhaled into the open airway (Shaker et al 1992). Additionally, if you have difficulties triggering a strong cough, this might reduce your ability to sufficiently safeguard your airway if something went down the not correct way.

How might this influence you?

Muscles feel tired and weak.An increased rate that breathing throughout eating and drinking deserve to increase the likelihood that food and also drink going under the wrong way. This may additionally cause a chest infection.If you have actually a breath problem, you may require oxygen therapy and also wear an oxygen mask. This might make eating and drinking an ext difficult.Dry mouth (xerostomia) is usual if friend wear an oxygen mask or girlfriend mouth breathe. Chewing and clearing food from her mouth deserve to be challenging when you endure from xerostomia.Breathing challenges have been connected to the boosted likelihood of happen food and drink earlier up from the stomach (this is dubbed reflux however is commonly known together indigestion). Periodically this can come up from the stomach and also enter into the airway from the food pipe; you might feel bloated or suffer belching. It may likewise cause irritation in the airway or cause you come cough.An boosted work that breathing offers up more energy and also muscles deserve to tire quickly. If you are worn down or feel weak friend may discover that that takes much longer to finish your meals and you might eat and drink less. This might mean you miss out on out on vital nutrients and/or shed weight.

Signs that you may have respiratory dysphagia

Increased shortness of breath throughout mealtimes.Reduced appetite.Difficulty chewing and avoiding difficult textures e.g. Chewy/crunchy foods.Wet or gurgly voice during and/or after swallowing.Taking much longer to finish a meal.Sensation that food difficult in the throat.Increased work-related of breathing.Getting worn down during and also after eating and drinking.Anxious when eating or drinking.Experiencing a emotion of feeling ‘full-up’ also though you have actually only consumed very small amounts.Experiencing an ext acid indigestion (reflux).Coughing during or simply after eating and also drinking.Chestiness or recurrent chest infections.Difficulties taking tablets.

Advice on how you can help:

Before eating and also drinking

If you can have her oxygen via sleep cannula this would be preferable whilst you are eating and also drinking. If you usage a face mask, it might be valuable for who to assist you in ~ mealtimes.Making sure that your mouth is clean and moist by consistently brushing her teeth and gums (or clean your dentures) to reduce bacteria build up in your mouth – speak to her nurse/GP if you require saliva instead of products.It is really important the you sit fully upright, if girlfriend need help achieving this you re welcome ask someone to aid you.If you have actually secretions grounding in your throat/back the mouth, shot to cough to clear this first. Speak to a nurse if girlfriend require aid clearing her secretions.If girlfriend wear dentures make certain these to the right well and are comfortable, if are loosened or ill-fitting might cause more of a problem.Ensure you have actually easy access to all your cutlery and also food.It would be useful to have a relaxed and also comfortable environment during mealtimes – rotate off any distracting music/tv etc and avoid talk whilst eating and also drinking. Try to relax your whole body as much as possible.Make sure you space well rested before eating and also drinking. Be aware that food preparation might be tiring.If friend are very breathless please look for advice native a medical experienced as eating and drinking may become an extremely difficult.

During and also after eating and drinking

Do not usage spouts or straws unless have actually been especially recommended.Eat slowly and also take smaller sized mouthfuls. The may help to take it softer foods which require much less chewing.If her mouth is feeling dry, take a sip of fluid when you require to but be aware that alternating drinks v mouthfuls of food may be difficult.You may advantage from doing an extra swallow come clear any type of food residue.Avoid consistent drinking; certain you take it one sip in ~ a time.Attempt to breath out immediately after a swallow.You may uncover eating tiny and often easier. Choose high calorie options if you are struggling come eat enough.If you are concerned about your nutrition you deserve to ask the nurse or dietitian around what extra snacks room available.Remain upright because that at least 30 minute after a meal.

If you experience reflux or heartburn, comment on anti-reflux medication v your medical professional or GP. If you have actually been prescribed reflux medicines ensure you are taking this correctly.

If you space concerned around a family members swallowing, please call their GP. Need to you require additional eating, drinking or swallowing advice, please perform not hesitate to contact the Speech & Language treatment Department call no: (01482) 604331.

Credit is to be given to Leeds neighborhood Healthcare trust for the it is provided of extr content to create this leaflet. This final copy was created by the Speech and Language therapy Department, Hull college Teaching Hospitals Trust with the assist of a Speech and also Language Therapist in Northumberland, Tyne and also Wear.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have actually been answered by this leaflet, however remember that this is only a beginning point for discussion with the health care team.

Consent to treatment

Before any type of doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, need to seek her consent or permission. In stimulate to do a decision, you require to have actually information from wellness professionals about the treatment or examination which is being available to you. You should constantly ask them an ext questions if you perform not know or if friend want more information.

The details you receive need to be about your condition, the alternatives obtainable to you, and also whether it carries risks and the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

you must be able to give her consentyou should be given sufficient information to permit you to do a decisionyou must be exhilaration under your own complimentary will and not under the solid influence of one more person

Information about you

We collect and also use your info to administer you with care and also treatment. As component of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, several of whom you may not meet. Your details may also be offered to help train staff, to check the top quality of our care, to manage and also plan the health and wellness service, and to help with research. Wherever feasible we use anonymous data.

We might pass ~ above relevant details to other health organisations that administer you with care. All information is treated together strictly confidential and is not given to anyone that does not require it. If you have any kind of concerns please ask her doctor, or the human caring for you.

Under the basic Data protection Regulation and also the Data defense Act 2018 we are responsible for preserving the confidentiality of any kind of information we hold about you. For additional information visit the complying with page: Confidential Information around You.

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If girlfriend or your carer demands information around your health and also wellbeing and about your care and also treatment in a different format, such as big print, braille or audio, as result of disability, handicap or sensory loss, please recommend a member of staff and this have the right to be arranged.