First Time User? Sign Up Now
For the visually-impaired, please click here.
Home > Health Library > Asthma and Vocal Cord Problems
Vocal cord dysfunction is the uncontrolled closing of the vocal cords when you breathe in. The symptoms can seem to be the same as those of asthma and may occur alone or along with asthma. If you have asthma and vocal cord dysfunction, it may be difficult for you to tell the difference between symptoms of the two conditions.
Sometimes vocal cord dysfunction happens quickly and may require a trip to the emergency room. The condition occurs in both men and women but may be more common in women who are high achievers.
Vocal cord dysfunction is often caused by postnasal drainage or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and improves with treatment of these conditions.
The following factors may help your health professional evaluate vocal cord dysfunction, especially in people who do not have asthma. The person:
The attacks usually do not occur at night. Also, the harsh, high-pitched sound of air coming into a tight airway (stridor) may be heard at the throat.
Some forms of vocal cord dysfunction occur in people who do not have asthma and/or GERD. In these people, vocal cord dysfunction may be associated with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a history of being sexually abused.
An acute attack may be treated with CPAP, breathing heliox (a mixture of helium and oxygen), or an anti-anxiety medicine. Long-term treatments include psychotherapy and speech therapy.
Current as ofSeptember 5, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of:
September 5, 2018
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
UNC Rockingham Health Care
117 E Kings Hwy
Eden, NC, 27288
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.