By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Another common illness that I see, that is
sometimes difficult to differentiate from asthma, is an entity we call vocal cord dysfunction.
And it’s really more of a syndrome rather than a disease itself. But the vocal cords,
which sit right at the top of your main breathing tube, constrict. Now sometimes they, they, and I
should say, just narrow ever so slightly, but they do that in response to the same triggers
that might trigger asthma. So air pollution, colds, weather changes and these vocal cords
can just narrow ever so slightly. And if you remember high school physics, flow through
a cylinder is inversely proportional to the radius to the power of four. So just minor
changes in the diameter of that, of the voice box can tremendously increase resistance to
airflow. And so it’s a common mimic of asthma and it’s important to differentiate because
all the asthma drugs really do not relieve that process. There is therapy that involves
speech therapy techniques, relaxation techniques. And so it’s important to differentiate so
that the patients don’t get frustrated that their asthma is not being corrected with the
typical asthma medications. Vocal cord dysfunction was originally described as an asthma mimic
and it, it tended to be in women of childbearing years, so let’s say 15 to 50. So we think
there is a hormonal component but nothing has ever been identified. Now having said that
we see it males and we see it outside that age range, but the peak would be in that menstruating
female, actually.

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