Vocal Cord Dysfunction can lead to shortness of breath, too
September 21, 2009
To the Editor:
I read and enjoyed Eric Murray’s article “Shortness of breath has many causes” on page 4 of (Monday, Sept. 14) Sky-Hi Daily News.
I learned up close and personal that there’s another medical condition that’s common, but not enough doctors know about. It causes shortness of breath. It’s called VCD (Vocal Cord Dysfunction). Often people are misdiagnosed as having asthma, when it’s really their vocal cords “closing up” in their voice box (larynx).
VCD can cause attacks of stridor (gasping sounds), and, or a wheeze (high pitched whistle sound), but these are not coming from the lungs. The sounds are coming from the neck (as turbulent air tried to get through a smaller than normal space between the vocal cords, in the voice box), behind the “adam’s apple”. Some people make no sounds at all, and some whose vocal cords close up completely even pass out from the “choking” episodes.
My husband and I both had VCD, and we both conquered it by finding and removing causes with the help of doctors at National Jewish in Denver. To help people get diagnosed who may have VCD, I wrote a website called “Can’t Breathe? Suspect Vocal Cord Dysfunction!” at this link: