Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Unexpected discovery!

In order to figure out how to overcome the shortness of breath I experience upon exertion, I thought it would be a good idea to understand what exactly it is about having a paralyzed vocal cord that causes me to feel this way when I run.

Truth be told, I did NOT expect to discover what I did. According to an article on medscape.com, unilateral vocal cord (fold) paralysis (UVFP) does not have the physiological impact on pulmonary function that I thought (or feel like) it does.

Consider this:
Patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) often report shortness of breath or a feeling of running out of air. Very little negative physiological impact upon pulmonary function actually occurs in patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP); however, because of the glottal incompetence, they experience significant air wasting and, thus, experience the sensation of shortness of breath and running out of air during speech. In addition, glottal closure is required for individuals to create positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP).

Now I know this is just one article, but wowzer! Who knew?? For some odd reason, it makes me feel better to know it may not be a physiological limit after all. I feel like it gives me a whole new direction to explore.
Sometimes answers bring to light more questions. And this answer brings to mind a few more questions to seek as I continue on my journey:  
  • How do I compensate for the "significant air wasting" to reduce the sensation of shortness of breath? (This is first for a reason!)
  • Right now, how is this "significant air wasting" adversely affecting my running performance?
  • I know I have poor glottal closure and glottal closure is required for individuals to create positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP).
  • What, if any, affect does PEEP have in running situations?
  • Can I improve or find compensation techniques to create PEEP? 
  • Do I even NEED to create PEEP to run well?

For now, the only PEEP I am certain I understand are these little guys!

I feel like the yellow PEEP in the middle, similar but oh, so unique in my own way!

As always if you have any suggestions or thoughts I would LOVE to hear them!!

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