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Trouble breathing and it doesn’t improve with your inhaler?

While there are many causes for difficulty breathing, if you experience more trouble breathing in than breathing out, this could be Vocal Cord Dysfunction or VCD.

To understand VCD, it helps to know how the vocal cords function normally.  When you breathe in, or inhale, the vocal cords open, allowing air to flow into your windpipe and reach your lungs.  With VCD, the vocal cords close together, or constrict, when you inhale.  This leaves only a small opening for airflow into your windpipe causing breathing difficulty, cough, shortness of breath, throat or chest tightness, “hard to get air in,” feeling faint or dizzy, and stridor (high pitched, noisy sound when breathing in).

Since VCD is not asthma, the symptoms do not improve with asthma medications.

You may find that laughing, emotional upset/stress, acid reflux, postnasal drip and exercise trigger the symptoms; interestingly enough, these are also similar triggers for asthma.

Although medications don’t work, there are special exercises to increase your awareness to relax your throat muscles—what a relief!  Check with your doctor.

This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. 


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