This is a very common problem which is very under appreciated. I will make a bold statement here. I believe most of the asthma ER visits in affluent areas (I’ll explain in a second) have as much to do with Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) as the actual asthma.

What I mean is that if you are actually take your asthma medicines appropriately (using the inhalers correctly and as often as your doctor recommends), it is very unlikely that you end up in the ER with an asthma attack. The medicines are VERY effective these days. It’s people who can’t afford the medications or those who don’t get the proper medical advice (or won’t take or understand the advice) who end up in the ER for the most part.

So, if the asthma aren’t working, we think of VCD. I should mention that part of the recognition problem is that different medical professionals call this problem different things. I mentioned “VCD” to an ENT specialist, and he looked at me blankly. When we started talking about it, he said “oh yeah, that’s blah, blah, blah (I forgot what he called it!). So, you see the problem.

In any case, once it is recognized we can start to look for a solution. I find that most patients can learn to control it on there own with yoga and meditation breathing techniques. In more difficult cases, speech pathology therapists can help.

I found this nice video on demonstrating the problem. I should warn you that it might be a little gross to some.

I am going to try and work with a speech therapist to make a more comprehensive video.