Allergy & Asthma Center, PC

Welcome

Allergy & Asthma Center, P.C., is an allergy practice based in Eugene, Corvallis, and Roseburg, Oregon.

Our practice includes allergists:

Appointments are available in the following locations in Oregon:

An allergist is a physician trained to diagnose, treat, and manage asthma and allergies, whether they are related to or caused by foods, environmental factors (such as pollen), drugs, or topical substances. Conditions that an allergist commonly treats include the following:

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For your information, each month we feature a topic of interest to our readers. Please read our current Topic of the Month below. To read previous articles that we have featured, please visit our Topic of the Month page.


October 2014 Topic of the Month

Overview

Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) occurs when the vocal cords (voice box) do not open correctly. This disorder is also referred to as paradoxical vocal fold movement.

VCD is sometimes confused with asthma because some of the symptoms are similar.

In asthma, the airways (bronchial tubes) tighten, making breathing difficult. With VCD, the vocal cord muscles tighten, which also makes breathing difficult. Unlike asthma, VCD is not an allergic response starting in the immune system.

To add to the confusion, many people with asthma also have VCD.

Although the two may have similar triggers and symptoms, the treatment approach for VCD is very different than treatments used to manage and control asthma. This makes proper diagnosis essential.

An allergist/immunologist has specialized training and experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of complex conditions such as asthma and VCD.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms

Symptoms of VCD can include:

Much like with asthma, breathing in lung irritants, exercising, a cold or viral infection, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) may trigger symptoms of VCD.

Unlike asthma, VCD causes more difficulty breathing in than breathing out. The reverse is true for symptoms of asthma.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing VCD can be challenging. The history of breathing difficulties when taking in a breath, having a hoarse voice, or experiencing voice changes may be very helpful to discuss with your allergist/immunologist. This may lead to further tests such as spirometry or laryngoscopy.

Spirometry is a breathing test that measures airflow. A laryngoscopy involves looking at the vocal cords through a camera attached to a flexible tube. Vocal cords should be open when taking in a breath. In some people with FCD, the vocal cords actually close instead of opening.

Treatment & Management

Many people have both VCD and asthma. Yet, the treatment approach for each is different.

Treatment for VCD typically involves activities that relax the throat muscles, including:

If you suffer from asthma, allergies, or GERD, managing these conditions will help treating VCD.

Reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology