In 1983, doctors at National Jewish Center described a condition that has the potential to mimic asthma, thus leading to inaccurate diagnosis and inappropriate, potentially harmful treatment. This condition is called vocal cords dysfunction, or VCD. The condition is characterized by vocal cord closure, usually on inspiration, leading to air-flow obstruction, wheezing, and occasionally stridor.
VCD has been reported from ages 3 to 82, but most often it occurs between the ages 20-40 especially in women and for as-yet-unidentified reason particularly among health care workers. Among teenagers, VCD has a strong link to participation in competitive sports activities and to personal and family orientation towards high achievement.
This is a mysterious disorder which underlying mechanisms are still unknown. No biochemical, physiologic, or structural abnormalities have been associated with this syndrome.
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