The actress Selma Blair recently talked about her life with multiple sclerosis. She revealed that during an interview with Good Morning America, she was diagnosed with MS last October after struggling with symptoms for years.
He was also diagnosed with another disorder that affects his voice: spasmodic dysphonia. According to a doctor, it is rare that a diagnosis can occur to a person without having MS.
"The condition is rare, relatively rare. The prevalence is one in 100,000, "said Dr. John Ingle, a laryngologist and director of the vocal center of UR Medicine. "It's mostly about women, and it can start as early as age 20-but sometimes it happens later, in your 50s or 60s."
Spasmodic dysphonia is a neurological disorder that affects a person's voice box. This causes spasms in the muscles that generate the voice.
It can be difficult to diagnose, by taking a team of health professionals to determine what is wrong.
Jessica Lapinski was diagnosed last year when she was referred to the vocal center.
"My voice was very hoarse, as if I was sick all the time, and people started asking me if I was sick and if I was not. I've somehow recognized that I had a problem, "Lapinski said. "It was said that it could be a neurological condition that may occur after a traumatic experience on the body, so after delivery or after stopping of breastfeeding, that could have triggered it.
Dr. Ingle and vocologist Gerriann Jackson collaborated to diagnose Lapinski.
First, Jackson helped Lapinski relax his muscles.
"People like Jessica will tend to produce a lot of extra tension, in addition to spasms of neurological disorder, in an attempt to compensate or stabilize," Jackson said.
They were then able to diagnose a spasmodic dysphonia in Lapinski and begin treatment.
Lapinski receives Botox injections every three months in his vocal cords. She also does vocal exercises several times a week.
"I just do it by going to work, by car," Lapinski said. She is a nurse and a teacher who uses her diagnosis as a lesson in her class.
"Fortunately," she says, "I work in the medical field and use it as a teaching moment to inform my students about my condition."
Ingle hopes that the more people become aware of Spasmodic Dysphonia, the more research there is, which could lead to better treatment or even curative treatment.
"What I learned as a voice specialist is that you can not judge people by their voices. You have to listen to people and let them tell you what the problem is, "said Ingle. "We often meet people and think that their voice is the one they have always had and what I have learned is that it is not the case. You must listen to the patient. "