Vocal cord paralysis is a condition characterized by the inability

What is Vocal Cord Paralysis and what Causes it

What is Vocal Cord Paralysis and what Causes it

The human vocal cords play a crucial role in sound production and serve as a protective barrier for the airway, preventing the entry of food, liquids, and saliva into the windpipe, which could lead to choking.

Vocal cord paralysis occurs when there is interruption in the nerve impulses to the larynx, or voice box, resulting in the paralysis of the vocal cord muscles. This condition can significantly impact speech and breathing abilities. Causes of vocal cord paralysis include nerve damage from surgery, certain cancers, viral infections, or specific neurological disorders.

What leads to this paralysis of the vocal cords

When an individual experiences vocal cord paralysis, it indicates a disruption in nerve impulses to the voice box or larynx. While the exact cause often remains unknown, several potential factors can contribute to this condition:

Injury: Surgical procedures involving the neck or upper chest can lead to nerve damage affecting the voice box. Surgeries related to areas such as the parathyroid glands, esophagus, neck, and chest carry a risk of such damage.

Stroke: Stroke interrupts blood flow in the brain, potentially damaging the part responsible for sending messages to the voice box.

Tumors: Both cancerous and noncancerous tumors can develop in or around the muscles, cartilages, or nerves of the voice box, potentially causing vocal cord paralysis.

Inflammation: Conditions like arthritis or surgeries resulting in inflammation and scarring of vocal cord joints or the space between vocal cord cartilages may hinder the opening and closing of the vocal cords.

Neurological Conditions: Certain neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease can contribute to the development of vocal cord paralysis.

Who is susceptible to this condition

Certain factors can elevate the risk of developing vocal cord paralysis. Here are some examples:

Gender: Women are more predisposed to developing vocal cord paralysis compared to men.Throat and Chest Surgery: Individuals who undergo surgeries involving the thyroid, throat, or upper chest face an increased risk of vocal cord nerve damage. In some cases, breathing tubes are utilized during surgery to assist breathing, which can pose a risk of nerve injury.Neurological Disorders: People with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis are more susceptible to developing weakness in the vocal cords.

Voice therapy and surgery are among the most common treatments for vocal cord paralysis.