Thick Water 101: Its Benefits and How It's Made Explained - Cart Health

If you have dysphagia, you may have been told to drink thickened liquids. But why exactly is this recommended, and what are the benefits? In this article, we'll take a comprehensive look at the benefits of thick water and other facts you should know:

What is Thick Water?

Thick water is simply water that has been thickened with a powder or gel to make it easier to swallow. It has a pudding-like consistency and is often used as a treatment for dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. When difficulty swallowing is caused by a neurological condition, such as stroke or Parkinson's disease, thickened liquids can be a helpful way to prevent aspiration pneumonia, which is a serious complication that can occur when liquids are inhaled into the lungs.

How is Thick Water Made?

There are several ways to thicken water, but the most common is to use a powder or gel. Powder is the most popular choice because it's easy to use and can be stored for long periods. Gel is also a popular choice, but it can be more expensive and may need to be refrigerated.

To make thick water, you simply add the powder or gel to the water and stir until it's fully dissolved. The amount of powder or gel you'll need to use will depend on the consistency you're trying to achieve. For example, if you're trying to make a thick pudding-like consistency, you'll need to use more powder or gel than if you're just trying to make a slightly thicker liquid.

What are the Benefits of Thick Water?

Here are five benefits of thick water that may surprise you:

  1. Helps with Swallowing

If you have difficulty swallowing, thick water can help. When liquids are thickened, they are less likely to leak into the airway and cause aspiration. Aspiration is when liquids or food enter the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.

  1. Reduces Risk of Dehydration 

Dehydration is a serious concern for people with dysphagia. When you can't swallow well, you may not take in enough fluids, which can lead to dehydration. Drinking thickened liquids can help prevent dehydration by making it easier to take in fluids.

  1. Prevents Choking 

Another benefit of thick water is that it can prevent choking. When liquids are thin, they can go down the wrong pipe and cause choking. Thickened liquids are less likely to do this.

  1. Makes Nutrition Easier 

If you have difficulty swallowing, you may not be able to take in enough nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition. Drinking thickened liquids can help you get the nutrients you need.

  1. Tastes Great 

Many people think that thickened liquids don't taste as good as thin liquids. But this isn't true! There are many different types of thickening agents, and some of them actually improve the taste of liquids.

Conclusion

Thick water can offer many benefits for those with dysphagia, as well as other conditions. It can help to increase the amount of time that food spends in the mouth, which can aid in the breakdown of food and make it easier to swallow. Additionally, thick water can help to lubricate the throat and reduce the risk of aspiration. Finally, thick water can also provide a feeling of fullness, which can be helpful for those who are struggling to eat enough during mealtime.

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