Signs & Symptom of Difficulties
Pooling food in mouth
Difficulty in swallowing frequently goes
undiagnosed and doctors need to be more alert to the condition,
a study released in Stockholm in 1999.
Trouble with swallowing can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, pneumonia,
depression and isolation. Many patients are too embarrassed to talk about the problems or believe it's part of HD and
that nothing can be done about it.
Difficulty in swallowing.
Dysphagia may be associated with esophageal obstruction as well as certain
neurodegenerative or motor disorders involving the esophagus.
Results from impaired voluntary control
of the mouth and tongue, impaired respiratory control due to chorea, and impaired
judgment, resulting in eating too rapidly, or taking overly large bites of food and gulps of liquid.
Dry mouth, which can be brought on by neuroleptics, anti-depressants,
and anticholinergics, may worsen the problem.
People swallow an average 580 times a day. In many cases, part of the
food or liquid ends up going down the windpipe into the lungs which can cause pneumonia.
No medications are known to improve swallowing
directly. Early referral to a speech-language pathologist will help identify swallowing difficulties, and periodic reassessment
can identify changes in swallowing ability and suggest appropriate non-pharmacologic interventions such as a change in food
Devices such as enlarged grips or silver-ware and nonslip plates with raised edges
to prevent spilling may prolong independent eating.