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Viscosity and Dysphagia

August 9, 2013


Last Friday, we introduced RheoSense's latest Application Note: Measuring Infant Milk Viscosity.

While the subject of viscosity is important among infants, it also has relevance in the field of adult dysphagia. Let's examine this subject more closely.

Dysphagia is defined as having difficulty swallowing or taking more time and effort to move food or liquid from mouth to stomach. Oftentimes, difficulty in swallowing does not cause alarm because of common habits like eating too fast or not thoroughly chewing food. However, it could also suggest a serious condition meriting professional attention. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), there are about 15 million Dysphagia patients in the United States.

So how does viscosity come into play? 

For patients with Dysphagia, food with correct viscosity helps to improve the patient's ability to swallow and ingest food.  Too thin could result in choking. Too thick could lead to other problems.

Who is affected by Dysphagia? 

Those at risk for Dysphagia are:


    • Adults with neurological disorders or tumors
    • Elderly
    • Children; including newborn infants

However, treatment of adult patients and newborn infants differ. Newborn infants are fragile and must receive breast milk or formula for proper nutritional intake. Premature infants suffering from Dysphagia will have difficulty swallowing formulations and are sensitive to their viscosity. To ensure proper feeding and care of newborns, accurate viscosity of formulations must be known.

Dysphagia is a serious problem that can lead to life threatening situations and disorders. With 15 million Dysphagia patients in the United States, it's important that hospitals and patient-care providers ensure the correct viscosity of formulas and food for both infants and adult with the condition.

For additional statistics on Dysphagia, click here.

For any technical or additional questions contact us.

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