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On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my true love sent to me……Eleven Pipers Piping!

Wow!  The sound of eleven pipers piping would be magnificent, but what if one of those pipers has difficulty breathing on inspiration and can’t hold that note? Should I replace him?

No!  What he is experiencing is vocal cord dysfunction (VCD).  When you breathe in (inhale) the vocal cords open, permitting air to flow through the windpipe and reach your lungs. With VCD, the vocal cords close together (constrict) when you inhale, leaving only a small opening for airflow into the windpipe making breathing difficult.  Common symptoms of VCD are cough, shortness of breath, throat or chest tightness, “hard to get air in,” feeling faint or dizzy, and stridor (high pitched/noisy sound during inhalation). These symptoms can be triggered by laughing, emotional upset/stress, gastrointestinal reflux, postnasal drip and exercise. The cause is unknown, and since VCD is not asthma, the symptoms do not improve with asthma medication. The good news is doing special exercises increases your consciousness to relax your throat muscles and improve your breathing (without medications)!

Once that piper has practiced those breathing maneuvers to treat VCD, he will be piping again in no time!

This educational information does not take the place of your physician’s advice.

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