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Paralysis of the vocal cords may occur when one or both vocal cords or folds does not open or close properly. A common disorder, this condition can range from relatively mild to life threatening. When one or both vocal cords are paralyzed, the open cord(s) allows food or liquids to slip into the trachea and lungs. A person may experience difficulty swallowing and coughing. Vocal cord paralysis may be caused by the following:
Lung or thyroid cancer
Certain neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis or parkinson's disease
Treatment may include surgery and voice therapy. Sometimes, no treatment is necessary and a person recovers on his/her own.