June 2, 2011

Functional Dysphonia: New Insights

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Patients with functional dysphonia may be significantly impacted from fatigue and poor health, anxiety and depression. These symptoms can lead to time off work, reduced activity, and social withdrawal, and in turn, could lead to further anxiety, fatigue and reduced voice.

Functional dysphonia is a condition that affects the voice, and is caused when the muscles that control the vocal cords tighten up and lock. The disorder creates an abnormal voice with no vocal pathology.

"The primary aim of the study was to investigate whether FD patients did experience fatigue in addition to their voice problems, and to ascertain if, as in other fatigued populations, this was also associated with perfectionism," James O'Hara, study author, FRCS, was quoted saying. "Our hypothesis was the FD patients would have higher levels of fatigue and perfectionism than matched healthy controls in a cross sectional survey."

Researchers studied 75 patients with functional dysphonia and 62 without. The fatigue score in patients with FD was 17.0 and 14.4 for those without. The perfectionism scores were 98.9 for patients with FD and 91.2 for those without. The evidence in the study suggests that patients with functional dysphonia are both more fatigued and perfectionist than healthy patients.

"Understanding how these factors play into the illness experience of people with this condition can help us improve our understanding of how FD develops and how we can practically improve the treatment of those affected by it," O'Hara said.

SOURCE: Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, June 1, 2011