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A diagnosis that’s difficult to swallow

17-03-2021 Category: General Posted by: emily.roberts

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Around one million Australians have swallowing difficulties, called dysphagia. Swallowing Awareness Day 2021, held this year on 17 March, aims to inform people about swallowing disorders and to connect people with speech pathologists, the professionals who can help.

Kylie Irvin, Marathon Health Speech Pathologist, says Swallowing Awareness Day is an opportunity for people to learn about swallowing difficulties and how speech pathologists are the professionals who can help.

“Swallowing problems occur when food, drinks or saliva gets in to the lungs – known as aspiration – which can cause lung infections. Swallowing problems can lead to death, poor nutrition, dehydration, health complications and social isolation,” Ms Irvin said.

Speech pathologists are the professionals who assess and manage dysphagia. So often Australians with undiagnosed difficulties are referred to other health practitioners – often for expensive and invasive investigations – when a speech pathologist could readily manage the problem.

“Swallowing difficulties can be frightening and life threatening, and can occur at any stage of life. Swallowing Awareness Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about swallowing difficulties and how they impact on the lives of our friends, neighbours and our wider community,” Ms Irvin said.

Through telehealth services, outreach trips to regional and remote communities, in-centre consults and home visits, Marathon Health’s speech pathology team are able to support people who have swallowing difficulties in areas they previously have not been able to reach due to geographical location.

“We have speech pathologists located in Bathurst, Young and Dubbo but a lot of our program participants are not located in these areas. There are also a lot of people who need swallowing support located outside of our areas, so we’re proud to be able to provide support through Telehealth to ensure these people get the treatment they need,” Ms Irvin said.  

For more information, contact our team of speech pathologists.
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