From 1 May, new international dysphagia standards—the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI)—replaced the existing Australian standards.
Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder that includes problems with chewing, sucking and swallowing food or drinks. It is not just a problem for the aged—it can also pose a significant safety risk for young people—although babies and our elderly are most often affected.
About 8% of the population suffer from the condition where the simple act of eating and drinking can cause food and drink to get into the lungs and cause chest infections like pneumonia. Sometimes dysphagia affects people so severely that regular food and drinks become a life-threatening choking risk.
Dysphagia affects about 25–55% of babies born prematurely, 60% of children with a developmental disability, around 50% of stroke survivors and 84% of people with dementia.
Conditions associated with swallowing problems include:
• premature birth
• cerebral palsy
• brain injury
• cancer to the mouth or throat
• Parkinson’s disease
The IDDSI framework