95 year old Alzheimers/dementia patient experiences occasional thick, sticky saliva usually after eating. Food has been pureed, yet she spits up gluey saliva for an hour or two before it tapers off and stops. Possible causes could be lack of fluids given by caretakers, a pocket of herniation in her esophogous trapping food particles, or post-nasal drip collecting in back of her throat. She has passed two hospital swallowing tests. Time between occurances range from a few days to a few months. Anyone have an idea of what the cause or remedy might be in this very elderly and frail person?
Chronic sinusitis or chronic allergic rhinitis can lead to the saliva changes making them sticky and thick. A CTscan of the sinuses may help with the diagnosis. If chronic sinusitis is diagnosed, a course of oral antibiotics or steroids can be considered.This is more likely a diagnosis because you have stated that post nasal drip is also present as a symptom.
Is she taking some medicines like diuretics, antihistamines, antidepressants and muscle relaxants? They can also cause sticky saliva and dry throat and mouth. Alcohol abuse, stress and depression are other important causes.
Diabetes and hypothyroidism are also known to cause such symptoms.Pls get your mother evaluated for that. Other medical conditions include nerve (to salivary glands) damage, Autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren's syndrome and sarcoidosis - the inflammation of body tissue.
I feel that you should get your mother thoroughly examined by a physician/ENT specialist and start with the treatment. Till that time,ask her to chew sugar free gum or suck on sugar free sweets and drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine drinks.Pls ask her brush and floss thoroughly and regularly to avoid a build up of plaque which leads to tooth decay and also sticky saliva.
Hope it helps.Take care and pls do keep me posted on how she is doing.
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