Thursday, June 21, 2018

Sphincter Weakness

Many of us living with Kennedy’s Disease (KD) experience swallowing difficulties - especially later in life. Today, in the KDA Forum, a question was asked about Achalaisa, and whether it is associated with Kennedy’s Disease.

I have not been diagnosed with Achalaisa, but I was told my lower esophageal sphincter muscle is not working properly causing several issues with swallowing and choking. The doctor associated the weakened muscle with KD.

I was told to change my eating habits to minimize the impact of the weakened sphincter muscle on my swallowing. The recommendations include:

1. Stop smoking.
2. Avoid foods or beverages that give you heartburn.
3. Drink plenty of fluid when eating.
4. Chew your food well.
5. Eat more frequent, smaller meals.
6. Avoid eating for three hours before you go to bed.

I also was given some swallowing exercises that I practice daily that seem to help.

The ALS Association has published a good resource on this subject. ALS Manual on swallowing and choking. It is a PDF.

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