The Truth about Allergies and Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Vocal Cord Dysfunction or VCD is a disease on the rise.

Since the early 1980s, VCD was then characterized as the “adduction” of the vocal cords manifested with an “open glottic chink.”

Vocal cord dysfunction has long been confused with asthma.

In fact, there was a medical textbook in 1842 that recognized vocal cord dysfunction as representing asthma.

From then on, there had been too many associations that were made with vocal cord dysfunction to other diseases, which in most cases are all connected to allergies.

Today, vocal cord dysfunction is a well-recognized disease, in which health experts continue to differentiate vocal cord dysfunction with allergic respiratory diseases.

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Basically, the concept of VCD is based on the actual and natural process of the vocal cords. Normally, when people breathe or when they inhale, their vocal cords open to let the air pass through and reach the lungs.

In the event that the vocal cords lock together, which tighten the airways producing a difficulty in breathing; it can be diagnosed as vocal cord dysfunction.

In diagnosing VCD, an irregular, paradoxical, or inconsistent vocal cord motion can be seen using a “laryngoscope.” This process is known as laryngoscopy.

This is the most important examination in order to confirm the presence of VCD. Why is that?

The reason is because most of the signs and symptoms of VCD are usually associated with those of asthma attacks. That is why most people conclude that VCD is also caused by some allergies.

Moreover, when a person who has asthma and who also has VCD, chances are the diagnosis will only be based on the pertinent results which were based from the symptoms of asthma.

What happens in the end is that the vocal cord dysfunction is often misdiagnosed and untreated.

The symptoms of VCD are unexpected start of complexity in talking and inhalation, high-pitched sound, and panic. There also known cases of wheezing, however, it should be noted that in VCD, it occurs when a person breathes in, while in asthma, it occurs when he breathes out.

In reality, VCD is classified as non-allergic respiratory disorders. This means that the main triggering factors of VCD are not based on allergies.

In fact, the main description of VCD is that it is an episodic disease, meaning it occurs at irregular intervals, or a certain event triggers the onset of the attack.

In this manner, VCD is triggered by some conditions like asthma attacks but it does not necessarily mean it is caused by the same allergens that initiated asthma.

People should also not be confused with the fact that most people who have asthma are also susceptible to vocal cord dysfunction.

In fact, there had been studies wherein 95 patients who have vocal cord dysfunction, 53 were found to have asthma. But this should not initiate the conclusion that vocal cord dysfunction is related to allergies like asthma.

Consequently, people who have both asthma and vocal cord dysfunction are only being treated for their asthma, and not for their VCD. Because of this the VCD gets worse and the person continues to think that he still has asthma.

Moreover, most of the medications used to treat asthma are not effective in treating VCD. Actually, there are cases wherein medications for asthma sometimes cause VCD attacks.

This is because there are substances in the medications used in asthma attacks that graven the situation of VCD in a person.

These things are important and should be clearly understood because many VCD cases are not treated at once because of the belief that the attacks are described as an asthma attack.

Hence, through laryngoscopy, VCD can be clearly diagnosed apart from those that are related to asthma or any allergic respiratory disorders. And when the disease is already diagnosed, the treatment should be cured through speech therapy and psychotherapy.

Indeed, certain diseases like VCD should be clearly diagnosed first and not just linked with other disease with the same symptoms.

This will only worsen the situation, or it may even cause serious complications and even death, if everything will be taken for granted.

That is why it is extremely important to have a complete and correct diagnosis of the disease.