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Vocal Cord Dysfunction


When your vocal cords do not open correctly, this is caused by Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD). It can also be referred to as Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM). With your vocal cords having trouble opening, it also makes it harder for them to close also. Because of this, air leaving your lungs becomes much more difficult, leading to several complications that may become life-threatening.

Differences compared to Asthma

Even though the symptoms are similar, VCD should not be confused with asthma as they are entirely different conditions. The vocal cords, or what it is more well known as, the voice box, muscles tighten, whereas with asthma the bronchial tubes tighten. Also, VCD is not considered an allergic response that starts in the immune system compared to asthma, which is.

The confusion with Vocal Cord Dysfunction and asthma can most likely be seen from people with asthma also commonly having VCD. This confusion can be threatening if not cleared up.

Treatment for the two conditions is also different, with treatments for VCD including speech therapy and deep breathing techniques. This is very different for the remedies used for asthma, where treatments include allergy shots and sublingual tablets.

Causes of Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD for short has been seen as one of the major possible causes of Vocal Cord Dysfunction symptoms. The inflammation of the airway may be caused by GERD and rhinosinusitis. Tobacco smoke and post-nasal drip are also common causes for VCD.


Most symptoms of VCD are:
•    Difficulty breathing
•    Throat tightness
•    Hoarse voice
•    Voice changes

Symptoms of VCD may be difficult to spot, especially because the symptoms are very similar to asthma. Diagnosing may also be difficult. If you are hesitant on if you have Vocal Cord Dysfunction, visit your local allergist.

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