Chronic cough causes could be many; some may be mild, while some, severe. This article presents a brief about the condition and its most common causes.
Coughing is one of the reflexes of the body against unwanted substances that make their way into the lung. Coughing actually helps in preventing infection in the lungs. However, what we have here is the case of chronic cough, which refers to an ongoing problem of coughing. It is not only a physical nuisance for the sick, but also for others as well. According to what doctors regard, a coughing that goes on for eight weeks or longer is termed as ‘chronic’. Factors that cause chronic cough could be mild to moderate, or even severe. Fortunately, in most cases, the condition resolves once its underlying cause is detected and treated.
Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Chronic Cough
Chronic cough in adults and children is one of the common medical complaints doctors come across every year. More often than not, the problem is a result of some other medical problem that the person may have been suffering from.
|Condition I||Anyone would suspect asthma to be the most possible cause of cough that goes on for two months or longer. Besides the coughing, asthma also gives rise to wheezing, shortness of breath, and pain or a feeling of tightness in the chest. However, in some people, only the coughing appears as the sole symptom. This condition is characterized by the narrowing of swelling of airways. This results in the production of extra mucus, and as mentioned, the ailing person has difficulty in inhaling and exhaling.|
|Condition II||Next is an infection of the respiratory tract. Infections like cold, flu, pneumonia, etc., has coughing as one of their many symptoms. Sometimes, even after they have been resolved, the cough stays behind and takes a chronic form. And in some cases, the cough could also be a sign of an incompletely treated infection.|
|Condition III||Then comes in the list what is known as the postnasal drip. In case you were unaware, the body produces mucus with a purpose of keeping the nasal passages cleaned, and moisturized as well. But then, factors such sinus infection, allergies, cold, flu, etc., may trigger an increase in the production of this mucus, which may start accumulating at the back of the throat. This condition is known as post nasal drip or Upper Airway Cough Syndrome (UACS). And this may trigger bouts of coughing in the person.|
|Condition IV||About 5% to 7% of the population is known to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes stomach acid to flow back into the food pipe. And this acid irritates the lining of the food pipe, having chronic cough as one of its manifestations. It also causes other symptoms such as sore throat, difficulty in swallowing food or liquid, and a strange sensation of something blocking the throat.|
|Condition V||A severe cause of chronic cough is chronic bronchitis. This respiratory condition occurs when the lining of the bronchial tubes swell and become narrower. This eventually shuts off the airways and leads to chronic cough, that is worsened by thick phlegm and difficulty in breathing. If steps are not taken against it, then it may lead to a permanent damage of the lungs’ airways, which is irreversible and incurable. Most often, it affects heavy smokers.|
|Condition VI||Lung cancer also shows up as a cause, but fortunately, in rare cases. It is the growth of cancerous cells in the tissues of the lungs. Also, it is the leading cause of deaths in the United States. Again, smokers stay in the highest risk zone to develop this condition. Besides chronic cough, the cancer gives rise to coughing of blood, chest pain, wheezing, hoarse voice, headache, and weight loss. The presence of all such symptoms is usually an indication that the cancer has already stepped into an advanced stage.|
|Condition VII||Chronic cough could also be a manifestation of a condition called bronchiectasis. Here the bronchial tubes (as defined earlier) get dilated or become wider abnormally. And this malfunction affects the tubes’ ability to get rid of mucus from the lungs. In most patients, pneumonia is followed by this condition. It not only causes persistent cough, but also bloody sputum, difficulty breathing, and fatigue, as well.|
Chronic cough may not only be associated with the conditions mentioned above, but the use of drugs prescribed for hypertension too. If 100 people are using such medications (known as ACE inhibitors), then it is most likely that about 20 of them would suffer from chronic cough. Some may develop the cough a mere week after the administration of the drugs, while some may get affected after 6 months. Keep well!