How To Heal Vocal Cords
Vocal cord dysfunction, also known as VCD, has often been mistaken as Asthma, and at times can co-exist with Asthma. Due to the similarities between the two, it is likely the unnecessary prescribed medication will be given and changed often for the patient, until the right diagnosis of VCD is truly found by a doctor.
Unfortunately, 59 percent of patients are often misdiagnosed with Asthma, prior to knowing they have VCD. Vocal cord dysfunction is often found more in women than in men, and the common age of detection is in persons 20 to 40 years of age, although it has been detected in children as young as eight years of age.
VCD is a syndrome in which airway obstruction leads to respiratory distress, due to improper vocal cord motion. VCD is a condition where your vocal cords don’t function as normally as they should, and instead of the vocal cords opening when you breathe, they close, making it harder for you to get air into your lungs. Patients often describe excessive wheezing, choking sensations, cough and throat tightness associated with vocal cord dysfunction, as well they can experience shortness of breath, chest and throat tightness, chronic cough, frequent throat clearing, voice hoarseness and wheezing.
A detailed patient history is needed to differentiate between the diagnosis of asthma and VCD. VCD is noted with more difficulty in inhalation rather than exhalation, and with the increased sensation of throat tightness or choking. Pulmonary function testing and laryngoscopy usually helps in determining the correct diagnosis.
VCD is a treatable syndrome. A patient is usually referred to a speech-language pathologist to help and provide treatment for VCD. The pathologist will provide education and treatment based on each patients need, and will schedule follow-up appointments to reinforce the treatment given, as well as to support and encourage patients. Speech therapy is the usual form of improvement and treatment for vocal cord dysfunction.
To improve your VCD syndrome there are individualized exercises and techniques given as the patient’s treatment regimen. Some of the exercises taught in therapy treatment involve; increased awareness of breathing patterns, awareness of body posture and throat relaxation, VCD released breathing techniques, control VCD during exercise, suppression techniques for chronic cough, throat clearing techniques, and vocal hygiene. This exercise and therapy regimen is used to improve, prevent and eliminate vocal cord dysfunction. Patients also need to become aware of possible triggers of VCD which could be set off by; upper respiratory infections, exposure to airborne irritants, strong odors or fumes, cigarette or fire smoke, exercise, singing, laughing, environmental changes, stress, anxiety and tension.
As with any other diagnosis related to stress, anxiety and tension, counseling may be needed to help with lifestyle changes needed to improve your VCD. Counseling may also be needed for the extensive treatments, doctor visits and medications
prescribed prior to the proper diagnosis. Some patients fear the worst when symptoms do not go away after numerous prescribed medications and doctor visits. When patients are desperate to find out the problem associated with their symptoms and be correctly diagnosed, they can experience anxiety and stress, which is a known trigger of vocal cord dysfunction. Counseling might be an important part of treatment for VCD, to help with the anxiety and stress some patient’s experience.
The improvement for this condition is not difficult; it just takes time, care and patience. Following the guidelines, exercises, and advice of your physician will help with the prevention and possible elimination of vocal cord dysfunction. With lifestyle changes patients can lead a normal life, and enjoy the activities and exercises they desire. Patients must understand the triggers associated with vocal cord dysfunction and learn how to manage situations that might trigger symptoms. Learning to control stress, anxiety and tension is important in aspects of life, as these symptoms can lead to bigger health concerns. Understand the diagnosis given, listen to your physician and ask questions, be aware of your environment and triggers associated with vocal cord dysfunction. Acknowledge and commit to the treatment, therapy exercises and changes needed to improve vocal cord dysfunction and start living life normally again. In the end not only will you improve your VCD condition but you may even eventually eliminate it.