Knowing that a beverage usually starts as a thin liquid is essential to better understanding thickened liquids. Thin liquids have the viscosity of the water that comes from your faucet.
When a thickener is added to any thin liquid, it changes. In the world of dysphagia, where swallowing thin liquids can be dangerous, a standard or guideline helps determine the consistencies of thickened liquids. "The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) is a global standard with terminology and definitions to describe texture-modified foods and thickened liquids used for individuals with dysphagia of all ages, in all care settings, and for all cultures."(1)
Levels of Thickened Liquids:
Drinking is a safe, easy task when your muscles react as they should. When you have dysphagia, swallowing may be challenged by weak muscles or slowed reaction time leaving your airways unprotected from the fluid. Thickened liquid moves more slowly, allowing more time for your muscles to respond appropriately and decreasing the likelihood of your drink entering the "wrong pipe." Your doctor and/or speech therapist should suggest a consistency that best meets your need. Still, you can determine for yourself, in most cases, based on your drinking experience.
This site is NOT the official IDDSI website. To learn more about global standards, terminology, and definitions relating to thickened liquids click the link below.