Ann Blackford

Know the Signs of Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Published: Aug 27, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 27, 2013) - The following column appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on sunday, Aug. 25.

 

When you think summer in the Bluegrass, you think of heat and humidity that drives many of us to seek shelter in the cool indoors. For some, outdoor activities can trigger a phenomenon known as vocal cord dysfunction.

 

Vocal cord dysfunction is a condition that impacts drawing in a breath. It occurs when the airway shuts or constricts when taking a breath. The vocal cords, or “folds,” are responsible for producing voice, and are housed in the larynx or “voice box.” Vocal cord dysfunction events cause difficulty breathing in, wheezing, coughing, a feeling of tightness in the throat, or stridor - a high-pitched wheezing sound.

 

In severe cases VCD can result in loss of consciousness.

 

Episodes of breathing difficulty caused by vocal cord dysfunction may be sudden and unexpected or progress gradually, and they often occur during periods of activity such as climbing the stairs, athletic competition or exercise.

 

Vocal cord dysfunction is often mistaken for asthma, or other upper respiratory disorders. Very often vocal cord dysfunction is initially diagnosed as exercise induced asthma; although the treatments are very different for the two. Patients will often see multiple doctors before this is correctly diagnosed.

 

Any person, young or old, can be at risk. In adolescents, vocal cord dysfunction is often seen in those who compete in sports or seek high levels of achievement and often affects more females than males. The exact cause of vocal cord dysfunction is not completely known, but it often includes irritants such as chemical exposure, acid reflux and changes in the temperature in your environment. Secondary factors may include physical stress or a tendency to breathe using muscles in the neck and shoulders rather than the belly.

 

For a reliable diagnosis, a team approach is essential. A speech language pathologist with a specialty in voice and airway disorders is key for correct diagnosis and management; which may include medications, or breathing therapy.  Treatment is generally effective and can greatly improve a person’s quality of life and return to an activity that previously caused them difficulty. Treatment includes teaching behavioral breathing techniques and vocal hygiene to reduce irritation, and normally takes 3-4 sessions.

 

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms of difficulty breathing in, strongly consider seeking assessment for a potential case of vocal cord dysfunction, and get the appropriate treatment. Difficulty breathing can affect every aspect of your life and have a major effect on what you do and when you do it.

 

Rebecca L. Hancock is a senior speech pathologist at the UK Clinical Voice Center.

 

hancock_rebecca.jpg
September
 
 
 
 
1
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
LGBTQ* and Friends Employee Picnic
Thu
2
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Fri
3
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sat
4
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sun
5
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
6
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Tue
7
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
UK Women's Club Volleyball - Open Gym
From The Streets to The Stage With Monti Washington
Wed
8
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
#IAMACCEPTANCE Let's Talk Mental Health with Hakeem Rahim
Thu
9
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
2016 New Chinese Students Welcome Party
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training
Fri
10
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
11
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Whipping In The Kitchen
Sun
12
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
13
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UKWC Welcome Coffee
Tue
14
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Greek Park Pictures
Wed
15
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Thu
16
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
A Day of Rising Strong
Fri
17
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
18
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sun
19
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
20
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
UK Women's Forum Board Meeting
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Cuban Heritage Festival
Tue
21
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Withdraw to Receive 50% Refund
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Wed
22
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
TGIT with SAB
Thu
23
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Fri
24
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
25
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Sun
26
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Let's Talk!
Empower: People of Color Support Group
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Mon
27
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UK Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair
Banned Books--A short history
Tue
28
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Cats Got The Vote
Business Internship & Career Fair
Women In Technology Gala event for UK undergraduate women
Wed
29
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Yoga at Commonwealth Stadium
Thu
30
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Indonesia Focus Conference
Indonesia Focus Conference
Craft Writing: Beer, the Digital, and Craft Culture
Fri
 
Sep 25
Film Screening of "The Fly Room" 09/25/2016 - 09/26/2016

Sun, 09/25/2016 - Mon, 09/26/2016

Repeats every 7 days until Tue Dec 20 2016 .
Mon, 09/26/2016

Repeats every week until Mon Dec 05 2016 .
Mon, 09/26/2016

Mon, 09/26/2016

Repeats every 7 days until Tue Dec 13 2016 .
Tue, 09/27/2016

Reset Page