How to Reduce the Risk of Choking in Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Patients
November 19, 2017
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
Think about the last time you swallowed – you didn’t force yourself to do it – it just happened. Swallowing is a complex task that requires both voluntary and involuntary contractions to move food from the mouth to the stomach.
Alzheimer’s and Choking
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the brain loses its ability to process certain commands (such as chewing and swallowing), increasing the risk of choking, pneumonia and even death. It’s important to remember that no matter how closely we watch our loved ones, the hazards of choking are always present.
The brain is made up of several parts, each with its own function. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are nearly 50 pairs of muscles and many nerves that work together to complete the swallowing process.