What is laryngitis and the Causes of laryngitis?

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Laryngitis is the larynx inflammation, an organ that allows us to breathe and allows us to emit our voice. We tell you the measures to follow to combat its annoying symptoms and overcome hoarseness.

The larynx has a fundamental function: it is the organ through which the air we breathe into the lungs passes and the one we live out from the lungs to the outside. Also, the vocal cords are what allow us to emit our voice. Therefore, the human larynx is a fundamental structure in our evolution, being part of our communication system in the form of spoken language. Logically, we can also suffer health problems in this area of ​​the human body, such as well-known laryngitis. Who has not ever been hoarse in winter?

The larynx can become inflamed like any other part of the airway, both by viruses and by the action of other microorganisms. Voluntarily or accidentally inhaled environmental toxins, such as tobacco, can also cause inflammation of the larynx. Hoarseness and dysphonia,  or even wholly hoarseness, are the most common symptoms of laryngitis.

Viral laryngitis is a benign and relatively frequent process that is usually solved only in a few days. It is rare for it to become complicated by pneumonia or for it to be of bacterial origin. The croup in children as croup with a barking cough and difficulty breathing can be a more painful process with signs of severity to identify to consult the doctor if necessary.

When laryngitis becomes chronic, extending beyond three weeks, it is when other non-viral causes, such as exposure to irritants, must be looked for and corrected. Also, depending on the associated symptoms, other more serious processes that can also cause hoarseness, such as laryngeal cancer in smokers, may have to be ruled out. Avoiding tobacco, therefore, is a fundamental measure to protect our larynx and our health in general.

Anatomy of the larynx 

The larynx is a tube-shaped organ that is made up of cartilage and has a mucous lining inside. It is between the pharynx (which is the shared tube between the airway and the digestive tract) and the trachea (the airway that follows the larynx). Inside are the vocal cords. It is located in the anterior part of the neck. A part of the thyroid cartilage of the larynx is palpable outside: the walnut.

Causes of laryngitis 

The respiratory viruses that cause laryngitis are mainly influenza viruses, parainfluenza viruses, adenoviruses, rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses. Sometimes it can be caused by bacteria, such as Moraxella catarrhalis or Haemophilus influenza. Viral or parasitic laryngitis is anecdotal.

The acute or croup Croup is a characteristic picture of children also often viral cause. A few years ago, a distinction was made between ‘true croup’ or ‘membranous croup’ due to diphtheria or Haemophilus influenzae type B infection and ‘false croup’ of viral origin. Today the term ‘croup’ refers to any acute laryngotracheobronchitis.

There is also non-infectious laryngitis due to irritative causes. They are forcing your voice or shouting a lot can produce laryngitis acutely, if it is punctual. Singers, announcers or teachers, or any professional who speaks continuously can end up with chronic laryngeal irritation and persistent hoarseness, and dysphonia symptoms.

Being exposed to gases, smoke, or toxic chemicals such as cleaning products or fuels or those released in some industrial processes can end up causing acute laryngitis that can become chronic.

Some drugs, such as inhalers used to treat asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, occasionally irritate the larynx.

The excessive consumption of alcohol and snuff or smoked consumption of other intoxicants is another irritant because of laryngitis that can also be acute or chronic over time if the irritant is not removed.

Gastric acid reflux, if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, as in a hiatal hernia, is also a cause of laryngitis, usually chronic.

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