FAQ Vocal Cord Dysfunction

What is Vocal Cord Dysfunction?
Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is defined by inappropriate closure of the vocal cords during inspiration, the time when air is taken into the lungs.

What Happens During Vocal Cord Dysfunction?
When you breathe in, or inhale, the vocal cords open, allowing air to flow into your windpipe (trachea) and reach your lungs. With Vocal Cord Dysfunction, the vocal cords close together when you inhale. This leaves only a small opening for air to flow into your windpipe, and this causes breathing difficulty.

How is Vocal Cord Dysfunction Diagnosed?
Diagnosis based on clinical history and laryngoscopy, direct visualization of the vocal cords after chemical provocation or during an acute episode of symptoms.

What Causes Vocal Cord Dysfunction?
The cause of VCD is unclear but may be related to gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn), postnasal drip due to allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or other reasons, inhaled irritants or a neurologic cause.

What Triggers Vocal Cord Dysfunction?
Some common VCD symptom triggers include exposure to strong odors such as cleaning products, perfume or smoke as well as exercise and also strong emotions such as stress.

How is Vocal Cord Dysfunction Treated?
Once the diagnosis is made , treatment of vocal cord dysfunction requires laryngoscopy, direct visualization of the vocal cords after chemical provocation or during an acute episode of symptoms. Treatment involves speech therapy, education and reassurance and treatment of aggravating conditions such as heartburn and hay fever.

FAQ Skin Disorders

What is Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)?
Atopic dermatitis is a common chronic skin disease characterized by a defect in  the skin barrier protein fillagrin. It is also characterized by loss of moisture, with increased infections. Skin is puritic and scratching results in a rash that is coarse and thick to the touch. Lesions may involve any body part but commonly affect the inside creases of the elbows, knees, and neck. It is also called atopic eczema. Atopic is a term used to describe allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever. Both dermatitis and eczema mean inflammation of the skin.

How is it diagnosed?
To diagnose eczema, doctors do a thorough physical examination of the skin as well as the patient’s account of the history of the condition. The doctor will ask when the condition appeared, if the condition is associated with any changes in environment or contact with certain materials, and whether it is aggravated in any specific situations such as food ingestion.

What is Urticaria (Hives)?
Urticaria is another term for “hives.” 20 percent of the worldwide population will at some point experience the symptoms associated with this condition. An episode of hives can start as itching, followed by swollen, red welts. The itching may characterized as mild or severe. Alcoholic beverages, NSAIDs, opiods, exercise, scratching, and emotional stress may worsen the itching.

FAQ Sinusitis

What is sinusitis?
The sinuses are a system of interconnecting hollow cavities in the skull. Mucosa, the lining of the sinuses, can get inflamed. This can result in an obstruction to the sinus pathways, which often causes the condition known as sinusitis.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
The symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Congestion and blocked nose
  • Discolored nasal drainage
  • Facial pressure
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • postnasal drip
  • Sore throat
  • Toothache and/or earache

Is a blocked nose always sinusitis?
A blocked (stuffy) nose is not always sinusitis; this symptom could also be the symptom of a cold or hay fever.  The simplest way to tell which ailment you are suffering from is by the length of time that you are experiencing the symptom. Sinusitis usually lasts for a week or more, and a cold should disappear after a week. Hay fever on the other hand is dependent on the allergens that you are exposed to.

Are there different kinds of sinusitis?
Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic. An acute sinus infection is typically caused by a viral infection and lasts less than four weeks. When your sinusitis symptoms continue for 3 months or more this is termed as chronic sinusitis. Recurrent sinusitis is when your acute symptoms re-occur several times over a year.

Can I treat sinusitis myself?
Acute and chronic sinusitis can both be treated, but cannot be cured, with home remedies such as nasal sprays or saline washes, or steam inhalations. Staying hydrated will also benefit someone with sinusitis. These treatments will ease the pain associated with sinusitis but they won’t cure the ailment.

Should I go to the Doctor about my sinusitis?
You should see your Doctor if your symptoms are more than just uncomfortable or last more than ten days, if you have a fever, or any swelling in the eye or face, confusion or severe headaches.

FAQ Immunodeficiency

What is immunodeficiency?
The immune system’s job is to defend the body against antigens such as bacteria, fungus, and parasites. It also guards against the formation of tumors and cancers. When this system is either overactive or under-active, the person may have what is known as an immune system disorder or immunodeficiency. Some people are born with the missing components to have a fully functioning immune system and others develop the condition later on in life.

What are the symptoms of immunodeficiency?
When a person has an immunodeficiency, they often experience recurrent infections including ear infections, gastrointestinal infections, pneumonia, sinus infections and skin infections as well as other health conditions.

What are the different types of immunodeficiency?
There are two main types of immune deficiencies, primary and secondary. Primary immunodeficiency is when someone is born with an abnormality in their immune system; some primary immune deficiencies can be inherited. When damage occurs to the immune system caused by an environmental cause, this is called a secondary immunodeficiency.  Contributions to the cause of many secondary immune deficiencies include burns, chemotherapy, infections, or radiation.


What are some of the symptoms of asthma?
The symptoms include, but are not limited to, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and/or tightness in the chest.

Are there any tests used to diagnose asthma?
Yes, pulmonary function is a way to measure how well you are breathing. There are different methods of pulmonary function tests that can be done. Spirometry is the main type of pulmonary function test. Spirometry is a simple test used to measure how much (volume) and how fast (flow) you can move air into and out of your lungs.

Do you offer Spirometry testing in your office?