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What is Dysphagia?

People with dysphagia have difficulties swallowing which can range from drinking various liquids, eating certain foods, or even managing saliva.  Often, dysphagia makes it difficult to take in enough calories and fluids to nourish the body which can lead to other medical issues.

Dysphagia affects millions of people around the world.  While the majority of people affected are children or the elderly, anyone can experience swallowing problems.  Modifying liquid consistency and food texture is the most common treatment for dysphagia.  However, until now there has been little to no common ground in how we defined and prepared thickened-liquids and modified foods.

What is IDDSI?

The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) is a global initiative to improve the lives of people living with swallowing difficulties.  This multi-disciplinary organization is addressing the long-standing issue of non-standardization in modified food and drink preparation to enhance patient safety.  IDDSI provides a framework with standardized definitions, testing methods, and terminology for food textures and fluid consistencies that can be used across ages, care settings, and cultures.  Food textures and liquid consistencies are defined by eight levels (0-7) indicated by name, number, and color.  IDDSI’s detailed definitions and testing methods for each level provide consistent production and testing of thickened liquids and texture modified foods.

Why is IDDSI important?

As more people experience swallowing difficulties around the world, healthcare professionals need to speak with each other using the same set of words and standards.  The IDDSI framework establishes a practical way for anyone to test and place any food and drink into one of eight levels (Level 0-7).  Each level is separated by either liquid flow rates or food size and texture.

IDDSI is being adopted by countries, product manufacturers, and institutions worldwide to serve an estimated 590 million people living with dysphagia.  For our part, Global Flow is devoted to providing simple to use, IDDSI compliant products that help you meet the challenges of life with swallowing problems.

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