A relatively common condition for athletes can often be misdiagnosed as asthma, but if detected can be treated easily enough through a combination of treatments including Botox for the vocal chords. Although it can be brought about by stress or anxiety it is also commonly linked to increased physical exertion, hence why athletes can be at increased risk of suffering from it.

It’s believed an estimated 5% of professional athletes suffer from Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion Disorder (PVFMD) which constricts the vocal chords and can impact the ability to breathe. It also causes coughing whilst exercising and because of these symptoms, which are very similar to those caused by asthma, it can often be missed therefore remain untreated.

The two conditions are in fact often linked – 40% of asthma sufferers will also have PVFMD. What will quite regularly happen is the asthma will be detected and treated but the PVFMD won’t be, in which case the athlete will still suffer from its symptoms.

When it is diagnosed correctly treatment will usually consist of multiple solutions. These will likely include vocal chord retraining therapy and also Botox, carried out by various professionals. An ENT specialist with Botox training would be required, as well as a vocal chord therapist and possibly also a sports psychologist who would deal with the impact it has mentally.

Non-athletes who suddenly take up an increased exercise programme can also suffer from the condition.