People who choke on something to eat have high risk of developing aspiration pneumonia.
How does aspiration pneumonia occur?
In the case of normal people, the epiglottis (the flap covering the trachea) in the throat closes when eating food so that the food is delivered to the esophagus (Fig. 1).
But in the case of people whose function of the throat declines with age, the epiglottis in the throat doesn’t close well so that the food enters the trachea. As a result, bacteria propagate from the food delivered to the lung, causing pneumonia (Fig. 2).
It is supposed to be impossible to know whether the function of the throat declines or not without X-ray at the hospital.
But by drinking a glass of water, you can check whether the function of your throat declines or not.
How to check the decline of your throat
Drink up 100 cc (3.38 FL OZ) of water within 10 seconds.
If you can’t drink up within 10 seconds or if you choke in the middle of drinking it, there is a high possibility that the function of your throat declines.
Since people with the declining throat like the elderly can’t close the epiglottis, they choke and can’t drink water well when they drink it at a gulp (Fig. 3).
The elderly tends to drink tea or coffee little by little, so it is difficult to notice that the function of their throat declines.
How to strengthen the function of the throat
(1) Place the fists of both hands under the jaw (Fig. 4).
(2) Push your jaw to your fists and keep pushing each other for 5 seconds (saying “Eeh” while doing this is more effective) (Fig. 5).
(3) Repeat (1) and (2) for 10 reps.
(4) Do (3) for more than 3 sets a day.
Singing a song is also effective.