Causes and signs of a chronic cough

Chronic cough is a cough that lasts eight weeks or more, is very irritating, can cause isolation from relatives and colleagues, interferes with the ability to sleep at night, and is one of the most common complaints people report to doctors.

Coughing is one of the most common symptoms in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and it goes away once the cause is gone.

When should you see a doctor?
Chronic cough is characterized by that it often lasts for eight weeks or more, but if the cough interferes with the person’s ability to carry out daily activities, he should see a doctor, especially if the cough is accompanied by phlegm or blood, and limits the person’s ability to do so. Sleeping at night, or affecting their relationship with family and those around them.

Chronic cough symptoms
A chronic cough can present with other accompanying symptoms, such as the following:

Nasal congestion or runny nose.
The sensation of a runny nose in the throat.
Wheezing in the lungs and shortness of breath.
A burning sensation in the stomach accompanied by a bad taste in the mouth.
Coughing with phlegm full of blood.
Causes and risk factors for chronic cough
It is difficult to determine the exact cause of a chronic cough, but there are several possible causes, such as the following

Secretions in the nasopharynx
There are many glands in the sinuses and throat that secrete daily saliva that cleans the nasal passages and maintains their moisture, and these fluids are often swallowed involuntarily in the case of certain disorders, such as allergies, colds, and sinus infections. accumulation of fluid to make the patient feel inside.

These secretions in the nasopharynx can lead to local irritation and inflammation in the area, causing a persistent cough. Although it is easy to determine the presence of secretions in the nasopharyngeal area, chronic cough may or may not be accompanied by other symptoms.

Asthma is one of the most common causes of chronic cough, whether in children or adults, and in most cases, the cough is accompanied by wheezing and shortness of breath, and there are certain types of asthma where chronic cough is the only symptom associated with it.

A cough caused by chronic asthma comes and goes for no apparent reason, and its intensity can be exacerbated in many cases, such as exposure to an upper respiratory infection, exposure to very cold air, or certain chemicals, and this type of asthma is usually called hyperactivity In the airways (hyperactive airway disease).

gastroesophageal reflux disease
This disease is associated with the reflux of stomach acids into the tube that connects the stomach and the oral cavity, causing permanent irritation of the tissues of the esophagus, throat, and lungs, and thus the occurrence of a chronic cough.
GERD can cause heartburn with a bad taste in the mouth, but most people who have a chronic cough as a result of GERD don’t have any other signs of the condition.

Respiratory infection
Because the respiratory infection is still active, the cough may persist long after the cold, flu, and other pneumonia symptoms are gone.

Taking medicine to treat blood pressure
A chronic cough occurs in about 20% of people who take ACE inhibitors, which are given to people with high blood pressure or congestive heart failure (CHF).

In most cases, the cough begins a week after starting the drug, and sometimes after about six months, and although the cough goes away a few days after stopping the drug, in some cases it can last for an entire month.

Chronic bronchitis
Bronchitis causes many symptoms, such as congestion of the lungs, shortness of breath, and a chronic cough accompanied by phlegm.

Smokers or former smokers are more likely to develop bronchitis. Thus, a cough is usually a sign of damage to the lungs and airways.

Bronchiectasis is a serious medical condition in which there is an exceptional dilation of the airways, affecting the ability of the lung to get rid of the phlegm accumulated there, and this dilation is usually preceded by inflammation in the lungs.
Symptoms of bronchiectasis include many things, such as cough with phlegm or blood, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Lung Cancer
There is a small percentage of people with chronic cough due to lung cancer, and most of them are smokers or ex-smokers; Therefore, it is preferable to consult a doctor in case of coughing accompanied by bloody sputum, especially in smokers.

Smokers or ex-smokers are more likely to develop a chronic cough, and constant exposure to smoke increases the risk significantly.

Women have a stronger cough than men, which makes them more susceptible to chronic coughing.

Complications of chronic cough
A chronic cough can lead to many complications, such as the following:

Excessive sweating.
Cracks in the ribs, especially in women whose bones are weak and brittle.
Chronic cough diagnosis
The disease is diagnosed based on the patient’s response to a particular treatment and not medical tests, and if the cough disappears after treatment, this indicates that the diagnosis is confirmed.

If the first method does not respond, certain tests are used, such as the following:

photography exams
They include several examinations, such as a chest X-ray and a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

lung function test
It is a simple test that measures the amount of air the lungs can absorb, as well as the speed of inhalation and exhalation. Sometimes a test is done to detect asthma, by looking at breathing capacity before and after taking a medicine called methacholine.

Laparoscopic examinations
In this test, a thin, flexible tube is inserted through the mouth that has a camera and a small lamp at the end, through which the body’s internal organs can be seen. Also sedatives or sedatives relieve the sensation associated with the examination.

Chronic cough treatment
Treatment for a chronic cough is generally known and obvious if the cause is known, but if it is not clear, the problem becomes more complex. Treatment for a chronic cough may include:

Anti-allergic medicines such as antihistamines and decongestants.
Anti-inflammatory medicines such as corticosteroids.
Antacid medication for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
In cases where there is no known cause for a chronic cough, it is treated with pain relievers and medications that help open the airways in the lungs.

Prevent chronic cough
Chronic cough can be prevented by avoiding risk factors and triggers as much as possible.

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