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HomeAnswersOtolaryngology (E.N.T)respiratory distressI have voice change and difficult breathing. Please help.

When can a person have voice change and difficult breathing?

When can a person have voice change and difficult breathing?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Alok

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At July 20, 2017
Reviewed AtApril 22, 2024

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I am a 36 year old female. I smoke but I have no medical history. I do take medicines for depression. About 2 months ago, I started to lose my voice. Otherwise, I felt fine. I do not have a history of losing my voice, so I assumed I must have picked up a virus. My voice slowly continued to become audibly worse, but still no cold or sore throat. Then about 3 weeks ago, my voice became so hoarse that I had to take a leave of absence from my job because no one was able to understand me anymore; I was audible, but so hoarse and able to speak only at quiet volumes. Now, at this time I started having a hard time in eating. It feels like food is getting stuck in my esophagus and for some reason I cannot breathe. I am drinking water to move the food down. I stopped eating solid food last week due to these choking episodes. If I try to speak now, I get ever so slightly short of breath. I also was developing these noises when I breath in deeply. I thought it as asthma, but I do not have wheezing. And when I got into a situation yesterday, I felt like I was having an attack of some sort that loud sounded and felt like croup. I could barely breath when I inhale and I made a really strange and loud croup noise. It settled out eventually. I think it is probably time to see an ENT to know what is going on. I do not really want to go to the ER because I am not aware if they have an ENT there who they could consult to see what is wrong. Plus, I really do not know what all this could be? And maybe it is not serious and it is just a bad virus too. I am trying to decide if my problem can wait for an ENT visit with a doctor when one becomes available in about two weeks. Should I go to an urgent care or ER? Thank you for your time.

Answered by Dr. Alok


Welcome to icliniq.com.

You have developed change in voice followed by difficulty in swallowing and also difficulty in breathing. Being a chronic smoker and the gradually progressive symptoms for a period of two months with an episode acute respiratory distress, I suggest you to visit ER (emergency room). You seem to have mostly carcinoma glottis with extensions in supraglottic and subglottic. You cannot take chance and wait for two weeks, because it is very risky.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Alok
Dr. Alok

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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