Cough is an important mechanism that allows us to clear the airway of secretion and foreign material. However this is also a means of spreading infection. Chronic cough is troublesome. It may have complications like insomnia, muscle pain and rib fracture. You should consult a doctor especially when it persists longer than 3 weeks.
Acute cough is most frequently due to the common cold, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, exacerbations of asthma and COPD. Although less common, it can also be associated with serious conditions like pneumonia and heart failure.
Chronic cough can result from a single cause or a combination of two or more conditions. The most common causes of chronic cough among non-smokers are post nasal drip syndrome (PNDS), asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
A person with PNDS usually has a feeling of something dripping down his throat. He tends to experience a need to clear his throat, nasal congestion, nasal discharge or hoarseness. He would have had a recent cold or suffer from allergic rhinitis, acute or chronic sinusitis.
Asthma must be considered in all with a chronic cough even when there is no other characteristic symptoms like wheezing.
GERD is caused when contents from the stomach flow back (reflux) into the gullet. It is not easy to make the diagnosis as more than half of them is unaware of the reflux. They may not have the typical symptoms like heartburn, sour sensation or regurgitation.
Some other causes of chronic cough:
Basic investigations may include:
- Lung cancer
- Smoker’s Cough
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Drug induced cough like certain group of anti-hypertensive medicine
- Habitual and Psychogenic cough
Treatment depends on the diagnosis.
- Chest X-ray
- CT Scan thorax
- Lung function tests
- Nitric oxide test
- ENT (Ear, nose, throat) examination
- Gastroscopy (examination of gullet and stomach)
Worried about Chronic-Cough?