New Delhi, April 20 (IANSlife) Our vocal cords are two bands of smooth muscle tissue present in the larynx. The air passes through the vocal cords and they vibrate to make the sound of your voice.

Some of the common vocal cord disorders are laryngitis, vocal nodules, vocal polyps, and vocal cord paralysis. Dr Atul Kumar Mittal, Director & Head, Department of ENT, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram shares some factors that might damage your vocal cord:

Allergies: Allergens can irritate and enflame the vocal cords, which can cause hoarseness. The allergy medicines can also affect your voice, by drying up the layer of mucus that protects the vocal cords. It stiffens or inflames the vocal cord and makes the voice raspy.

Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD): When Gastric acid falls on the vocal cords, it can cause inflammation. It can cause reflux laryngitis. Patients of reflux laryngitis usually complain of croaky throat, throat clearing, sensation of lump in the throat, cough, or sore throat.

Illness: Vocal cord may swell when you try to talk during a cold, which can lead to laryngitis.

Neurological disorders: Certain neurological conditions can affect the nerves that control the vocal cord, and lead to vocal cord paralysis. These can include multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Parkinson disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Huntington disease.

Alcohol and Smoking: Smoking can put you at risk for developing throat cancer. Together smoking and drinking also increases the risk of the disease. Smoking also dries the throat and may cause laryngitis. Similarly, alcohol dehydrates the whole body and can lead to laryngitis.

Voice abuse: Vocal abuse is anything that puts pressure on the vocal cords. Too much talking, shouting, coughing, smoking and constantly clearing the throat are some examples of vocal abuse. It may cause the vocal cords to get nodes and polyps. It can change the voice of the person. It has been observed; sometimes a vocal cord can break or burst from vocal abuse. This can even cause hemorrhage or loss of voice.

Aging: Voice generally changes later in life due to aging of the voice box and the respiratory system that powers the voice. The vocal cords can lose flexibility and dry out.

Growths: The growth of extra tissues in the throat hinders the normal functioning if the throat. Patients may experience the growth of a band of tissue called a web, a small area of chronic inflammation (granuloma) or small blisters called polyps. Growths can be due to illness, injury, cancer, and vocal abuse.

Inflammation: Many things can cause inflammation in the vocal cord. These include surgery, respiratory illness, allergies, GERD, some medicines, exposure to certain chemicals, smoking, alcohol abuse, vocal abuse or pollution.

Chest and throat surgery: People who’ve had recent surgery at or around the area of the voice box might suffer from damaged vocal cords. Being intubated during a surgery can also damage the vocal cords.

–IANS

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