Vocal cords are closed when we eat to protect our lungs from foods. Choking and coughing while we are eating are protective reaction. We cough during a meal to cough out foods not to make any foods go into our lungs.
The cause of choking and coughing frequently at a meal is “Vocal cords are thin.”
Vocal cords are made of muscles and what moves vocal cords is also muscles. So if you don’t use them or with age, they become weak and thin. If vocal cords are normal, they are closed so when you eat foods, the foods are blocked and goes to stomach, but if vocal cords become thin, there is an opening so the foods also go into lungs. When the foods go into lungs, our body tries to get rid of the food from lungs by coughing. If vocal cords become thin, the choking and coughing happen frequently. (Fig. 1)
If vocal cords become thin, germs in the mouth flow into lungs with foods. The germs cause inflammation in lungs and the risk of having pneumonia rises. That is why frequent choking and coughing at a meal is dangerous.
It is dangerous when the person who was choking and coughing frequently stopped choking and coughing.
There is a gate keeper in the bronchial tubes who only allows the air to go through. If there is an invader (foods), the gate keeper drives away the invader by coughing. But after the invader comes over and over again, the gate keeper thinks that they are not bad fellows and let them go into lungs. The number of foods going into lungs mistakenly increases and the bacteria attached to the foods causes pneumonia. (Fig. 2-5)
Thinning of vocal cords causes an unpredictable symptom which is “No strength in the body.”
If there is a gap between your vocal cords, when you try to lift a heavy stuff, you can’t force yourself to lift it up.
One of the important roles of vocal cords is when you exert yourself, your vocal cords are closed to store the air in your lungs. If your vocal cords are thin, the air leaks out and you can’t exert yourself.
To keep vocal cords healthy, overuse is not good but it is important to enjoy conversation properly.
How to check whether or not your vocal cords is thin
Measure how long you can keep saying “ah” after breathing in deeply. The guide line is if it lasts for 15 seconds for a male and for 12 seconds for a female or not. If you can’t continue for a long time, there is a possibility that vocal cords are thin and there is a gap between vocal cords because it is necessary to use more breath to vibrate vocal cords.
How to strengthen your vocal cords
(1) Join your palms in front of your chest.
(2) Push against each other with your palms at the same time of saying “one”.
(3) Repeat this from “one” to “ten”.
Strengthening the muscles which move vocal cords and the muscles of vocal cords makes vocal cords thicker and easy to close, and lowering the risk of pneumonia is expected. It is recommended to do this exercise in the morning and evening.
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