Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is an abnormal narrowing of the larynx. It occurs in some people during high intensity exercise or exposure to certain irritants. This leaves only a small opening for air to flow through the windpipe which can feel like you can't get enough air into your lungs. It can cause symptoms that mimic asthma.
What are vocal cords?
Vocal cords are folds of tissue in the larynx (voice box) at the top of the trachea (windpipe). They protect the airway by coughing and throat clearing. Vocal cords open during breathing, close during swallowing, and vibrate for speaking, singing and making sounds.
Top three triggers that cause VCD are:
Shortness of breath
Intermittent hoarseness or wheezing
Chronic cough and/or throat clearing
Chest and/or throat tightness
Trouble getting air in
A respiratory doctor will evaluate your breathing and determine what things make your symptoms worse.