Speech and Language Therapists supported national Swallowing Awareness Day with events at Eastbourne DGH.
The aim of the day on Wednesday (11 May) was to bring attention to swallowing disorders and to connect people with health professionals who can help.
Practical examples were used to illustrate swallowing problems including challenging people to eat a small cake by not using one of either their lips, teeth or tongue.
Like breathing, swallowing is essential to everyday life. Humans swallow at least 900 times a day, around three times an hour during sleep, once per minute while awake and even more during meals.
Anita Smith Consultant Speech and Language Therapist said, "Swallowing is something everyone does but no one talks about it. Swallowing problems can occur at any stage of life. Many people have swallowing difficulties after a serious incident such as a stroke, or as part of a life limiting disease such as Parkinson’s Disease or Motor Neurone Disease or just as part of getting older. The Speech and Language Therapist’s role is to identify these difficulties and support people to eat and drink safely where this is at all possible."
This was the very first event to raise awareness of swallowing disorders in the UK and was coordinated by Anita Smith, Consultant Speech and Language Therapist at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust on behalf of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in collaboration with Speech Pathology Australia.