A variety of medical conditions can cause dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia puts people at risk for “aspiration,” which is when food or liquid accidently enters the airway. Frequent aspiration can lead to aspiration pneumonia. For some patients, thickening liquids can decrease the risk of aspiration by changing the consistency of the liquids. A Speech Pathologist will recommend a liquid consistency that is safe for you to swallow.