What is Chronic Cough?
While most coughs have a short lifespan, Chronic cough is a condition where a cough lasts eight weeks or even longer in adults. It is usually observed to last four weeks or more in children. Chronic cough can feel you leaving tired and even interrupt your sleep at night. In some cases, it may even lead to light-headedness, vomiting, and rib fractures. Chronic cough may be caused by conditions like alleges or post nasal drip. They also may be caused by life-threatening conditions in rare cases. This is why you need to see a doctor if you have a cough that seems to last for more than three weeks.
Chronic Cough Symptoms
Depending on the cause of the chronic cough you are suffering from the symptoms will also differ. Some of the commonly seen chronic cough symptoms include:
- Hoarse voice
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest soreness
- Urine leakage
- Sleep loss
Some of the more severe symptoms include
- Coughing up blood
- High fever
- Night sweats
- Loss of weight
- Persistent chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
When you have a chronic cough, the cough may be dry or wet. The dry cough does not produce mucus while a wet cough does. A person with a dry chronic cough may be a smoker or take ACE inhibitors. A wet chronic cough is seen among people who have cystic fibrosis or postnatal drip.
Who is at Risk?
Depending on the type of chronic cough, the risk factors differ. Studies have shown that smoking cigarettes will severely increase your risk of developing a chronic cough. Unfortunately, exposure to second-hand smoke also increases your risk of chronic cough. The smoke will irritate your airways and also cause lung damage while making you cough constantly. If you are exposed to chemicals in the air due to working in a laboratory or a factory, you may develop a chronic cough. People who take ACE inhibitors are also at a higher risk of developing a chronic cough. Once you develop a cough that does not seem to go away even after three weeks, you need to seek medical attention to find the root of the problem.
Chronic Cough Causes
Some causes of chronic cough are:
- Lingering after-effects of an infection
- Postnasal drip
- Blood pressure-lowering medications
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Some other causes behind chronic cough include Aspiration, Bronchiectasis, Bronchiolitis, Cystic fibrosis, Sarcoidosis, Heart disease, and Lung cancer. Although chronic cough is not a common symptom of lung cancer, persistent coughing accompanied by blood in the sputum may present itself. Studies have shown that shortness of breath and coughing can sometimes indicate heart failure or heart disease. In fact, this condition is called a heart cough. A person who suffers from this condition will notice that the cough gets worse when they are lying flat on their back.
How is Chronic Cough diagnosed?
In order to make a chronic cough diagnosis, the doctor will ask several questions about the symptoms including, when it started, when is it better, and when does it get worse. They will also ask about the patient’s medical history and lifestyle habits to rule out any other causes. This is followed by a physical examination that involves listening to the heart with a stethoscope. The doctor will also prescribe several tests to help make a diagnosis and rule out any other underlying health condition for the chronic cough.
- Sputum culture
- Imaging scans
These tests along with several others will help the chronic cough doctor come to a diagnosis and get you started on the chronic cough cure.
How is Chronic Cough treated?
Once the reason for chronic cough has been determined, the doctor will get you started on the right treatment. In case the reason behind the condition is not apparent, the Pulmonologist will start off by treating the most common contributing factors. The chronic cough treatment also involves making several lifestyle changes like eating smaller meals throughout the day, avoiding acidic food, taking medications long term, and so on. In case you have a persistent cough that has been around for three weeks, it is time to book an online video consultation with the top doctors in the county with the help of Cure.fit.
How can Chronic Cough be prevented?
Chronic cough can be prevented by managing medical conditions like asthma, GERD, postnatal drip, getting vaccinated against whooping cough, and not smoking. After all, preventing it is better than depending on medicine for chronic cough to finally stop coughing.