Spasmodic dysphonia, a chronic disorder of the vocal cords

If you have problems with your voice, it may be the spasmodic dysphonia. It refers to a chronic problem that affects the vocal cords, causing them to be strained or tense. Also, those who suffer from it may experience a breathy, shaky, cracked or warm voice.

Vocal interruptions or spasms also cause this type of aphonia. This could occur at specific moments and, sometimes, the change is so little that it goes unnoticed.

Studies on Spasmodic Dysphonia

According to the latest studies, spasmodic dysphonia affects four people for every one hundred thousand inhabitants. Likewise, it is considered that currently it could range between 18,000 to 20,000 patients affected by the disease. Although the origin of the disorder has not yet been defined, specialists think it is related to atrophy of the basal ganglia.

Assessment of the patient is essential to properly diagnose the disorder. This diagnosis should be made by an otolaryngologist, who is the one indicated to evaluate this area. Its characteristics include a sharp intermittent voice, due to the spasms caused by the abduction of the vocal cords.

Common symptoms

Qualitative and quantitative alterations in phonation are usually accompanied by different signals that determine the type of aphonia. In addition, the symptoms of the condition, they manifest in a combined and isolated manner. For this reason, sometimes it is common for the patient’s injuries to resemble the present signs.

Among the most common symptoms we can mention variation in intensity, hoarseness, voice tremor, shortness of breath, among others. On the other hand, those who suffer from this condition often experience other signs such as itching, throat clearing, cough, acute sore throat, among others.

However, as time passes, and if the situation worsens, these losses will become more recurrent. This usually happens in times when the person is tired, stressed or tense. Therefore, it is essential to avoid these episodes that could worsen the situation.

Recommended treatments for spasmodic dysphonia

Today there is no curative treatment for this condition. Nevertheless, Therapies are aimed at significantly improving the patient’s speech and vocal production. Whatever the case, it will have to be treated in a personalized way and according to the needs of the patient.

The treatments have to be carried out by an expert, who provides a neuromonitoring process. Additionally, it may be necessary that, in addition to the treatment, the patient must undergo a voice rehabilitation, to obtain better results. Above all, it is highly recommended in the event that the disorder affects your work life.

Probable causes

The causes to determine the origin of these problems vary according to each patient. Sometimes, certain coincidences are manifested due to respiratory tract infections, stress or excessive use of the voice. Likewise, it is also thought that it may be an alteration in brain regions that control movements.

To determine an accurate diagnosis it will be necessary to analyze each particular case by a recognized specialist with extensive experience. In the process, he will focus on assessing the state of the vocal cords to detect possible speech disturbances of the patient.

If, in addition to presenting voice problems, you also suffer from other pathologies, an evaluation by a specialist in neurology will be necessary. Above all, from the moment the first symptoms are witnessed, since they could be mild and evolve progressively.

Other recommendations

All specialists advise resorting to the consumption of vitamin complexes. Which are not only ideal for the body, but also improve sore throats, such as:

  • Vitamin A: it is ideal for regenerating and repairing tissues.
  • Vitamin E: helps to improve and stimulate the defenses of the whole body.
  • Rehabilitation therapies: It consists of methods of vocal reeducation, which reduce symptoms and improve phonation.

Advances related to spasmodic dysphonia

Currently there are two foundations that focus on improving the quality of life of patients with spasmodic dysphonia, such as the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and the NSDA (National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association). Some of the progress reflected are:

  • Vibro-tactical stimulationl: a method proposed by the researcher Arash mahnan, whose purpose is to act in an alternative, non-invasive way, using a portable device located around the neck that emits vibrations to the larynx. It is still in a trial period, to demonstrate the effectiveness.
  • Drugs to reduce striatal cholinergic interneuron function: Studies are currently being conducted to obtain preliminary data on their action.

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