Airway problems are often the result of obstructions of the airway, consisting of the throat, voice box and trachea. These blockages prevent air from entering the lungs either partially or completely, leading to breathing difficulties and a variety of other complications, some potentially life-threatening. What Causes Airway Problems?
- Vocal cord problems.
- Viral and bacterial infections.
- Foreign objects in the nose or mouth.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Swelling of the tongue or epiglottis.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
A chronic cough is defined as one that lasts eight weeks or longer. More than simply an annoyance, a lingering cough can disrupt your sleep and affect your work. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, runny nose, congestion and heartburn.
Hoarseness is an inflammation of the larynx that results in a change in the voice, making it sound breathy, raspy, scratchy or strained. There may be changes in volume and pitch, as well. Hoarseness falls under the medical category of dysphonia, which refers to voice impairment or any sort of difficulty speaking.
Laryngitis is swelling and irritation of the larynx (voice box). It causes hoarseness and, in some cases, voice loss. It can be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting), but is usually the result of a temporary viral infection or vocal strain and clears up quickly. Persistent laryngitis that lasts longer than two weeks could be a sign of a serious condition and should be evaluated by a doctor.
Neck & Throat Cancer
Neck and throat cancers usually form in the squamous cells lining the inside of the mouth, nose, and throat. They are highly curable if detected early, and often respond well to surgery or radiation treatment.
Cancers in this region are classified according to where they are located in the body. They include:
- Oral cavity. This region includes the lips, tongue, hard palate, gums, and mouth.
- Larynx. Comprised of the vocal cords and epiglottis.
- Pharynx. There are three sections of the throat: the nasopharynx (the upper portion, located behind the nose), oropharynx (the middle section, which includes the soft palate and tonsils), and hypopharynx (the lower portion).
- Paranasal sinuses. The nasal cavity.
- Salivary glands. Located at the bottom of the mouth near the jawbone.