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The Importance of Therapeutic Diets

Therapeutic diets are formulated to optimize the nutritional needs of the client in order to treat a variety of diseases and disorders or to improve the eating capabilities of a patient or client. A diet ordered by a physician is part of treatment plan for a disease or clinical condition, to eliminate, decrease, or increase specific nutritional needs in the diet and to reduce the risk of injury.

Therapeutic diets are also used by dietitians to either maintain a healthy lifestyle or improve health. For instance, many dialysis patients are on diets that are therapeutic to their treatments so that there is maximum improvement from the dialysis treatment.

Some conditions that can benefit from a therapeutic diet include cardiovascular disease such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, heart attacks, and stroke. Diabetics can benefit from a therapeutic diet as can people with gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease. Food allergies are also managed by restrictive dietary management.

With dietary management, safety and injury concerns are also a factor. The ability to swallow may affect the choice of diet consistency that must be followed. Many therapeutic diets that are recommended for those with swallowing disorders may be chopped, pureed, or thickened liquids to decrease the risks choking.

There are a number of different reasons why an individual would have problems swallowing or dysphagia. There are numerous muscles and nerves that are required to swallow food and many diseases or physiological conditions that may influence whether a person is able to swallow or not. Some of the most common disorders that affect swallowing include: neurological disorders, neurological damage, cancer and cancer treatment, Alzheimer’s disease, and aging.

The increasing number of people that reside in long-term care facilities or nursing homes brings increasing awareness of disease management and safety through diet. Choking incidents are frequent in care facilities due to the numbers of residents that are affected by disorders that inhibit swallowing. It is imperative that all staff have knowledge of each person’s ordered diet, the safety reasons of strictly following the prescribed diet and the skills to monitor closely residents that have been placed on dietary restrictions to reduce choking risks and manage disease. There are a number of different reasons why an individual would have problems swallowing or dysphagia.

Pedagogy Education offers accredited online continuing education courses on the topic of Therapeutic Diets. Pedagogy’s author Corinne Kantor provides valuable education on the importance of appropriate dietary needs being met and why. Visit us at Pedagogy Education to see what we offer in healthcare education.

Pedagogy Blog by Catheryn Peplinski, MBA, RT (R) (M), RDMS, is our Director of Operations and author of Pedagogy online continuing education courses.
Posted: 9/27/2013 3:29:40 PM
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