Many Long-Haulers not weeks, but months later continue to experience intermittent or continous shortness of breath (SOB). Many will show up normal oxygen levels even when feeling very breathless.
Recently, a medical doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital, Jonathan Aviv published an article in the International Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Sciences. Here he describes the care of 18 patients who had shortness of breath several weeks after the acute infection of COVID-19. The patients reported that they usually did not have this problem while sleeping nor while during exercise, rather after the exercise. They decided to observed their vocal cords and voilà… all patients had vocal dysfunction. Their glottic airway was closing more than 50% during quiet respiration (they should be wide open).
The patients were sucessfully treated with respiratory retraining and diet modification. They mention that foods with a pH lower than 4 tend to aggravate the symptoms, e.g. sodas, ice tea, citrus, tomato sauce, vinegar and wine.
In an interview later, Dr. Aviv said: “All the patients resolve their shortness of breath. You can see it when they come back. Their vocal cords are now moving normally”.
I digged on the Cleveland Clinic website and found very interesting information that may resonate very much with many COVID long-haulers.
Vocal Cord Dysfunction may be caused by post-nasal drip, acid reflux and stress. In addition, in the Aviv paper it is mention that this problems can also arise from viral infections.
Severe attacks of shortness of breath usually don’t decrease your oxygen levels and the symptoms usually do not happen while sleeping.
While these might sound like old news, I definitely think this has not been properly widespread.
“The best way to tell if you have VCD is for your healthcare provider to look at your vocal cords when you are having difficulty breathing. To look at your vocal cords, a small, flexible fiberoptic tube (laryngoscope) is passed through your nose to the back of your throat where your vocal cords can be seen. Before the tube is put into your nose, medicine to numb your nose and throat is used.”
Follow me on Twitter (@tschmauck), I will be posting posts in English regarding COVID-19 and especially about Long-COVID.