Chronic cough and shortness of breath can be experienced by a person due to a number of reasons. This article provides some information on the same.
Chronic or persistent cough along with a sudden shortness of breath are symptoms that could be associated with various causes ranging from minor to major. It should not be ignored as in some cases, it could be a manifestation of any serious lung or air tract problem. One needs to be aware of the conditions that can cause the same. Here are some of them:
Perhaps, the most common reason for breathlessness or being short of breath and bad cough is asthma. It leads to chronic cough in adults as well as children. A wheezing sound from the lungs accompanies the cough when a person is affected by asthma. In some cases of asthma, the person only experiences cough and that is the only symptom. This type of cough related to asthma can affect in a particular season or might occur after an upper respiratory tract infection.
When extra mucus is produced by our nose, sinus, and throat glands, on account of allergies, cold or sinus infection, it sometimes accumulates at the back of the throat. This is called post nasal drip and it causes irritation, discomfort, and inflammation. All these things trigger the cough reflex we have. The worse the postnasal drip, the worst the post drip cough can get.
An inflammation of the major airways in our lungs (called bronchial tubes) for a long time leads to congestion, breathlessness, and wheezing culminating in a discolored sputum. This is called chronic bronchitis, an advanced stage of bronchitis. Chronic cough with phlegm, again, is a very common cause of shortness of breath and related lung problems.
Respiratory Tract Infection
Sometimes, a person can be affected by a bad bout of cough and shortness of breath after pneumonia, flu, or a common cold. That could include other upper respiratory infections as well, after they have gone away, amongst other reasons. The cough just lingers on, one of the reasons being that the respiratory tract still under the influence of the infection.
A few other causes of chronic cough and shortness of breath are specific blood pressure drugs, lung cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, where the acid from the stomach flows back to the tube connecting the throat and stomach, and bronchiectasis. Another plausible cause of cough could be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Connection Between Chronic Cough and COPD
There is a clear cut relation between this condition and COPD. COPD is a lung disease, in which the tubes that carry the air in and out of the lungs are blocked or obstructed. This leads to problems in getting the air in and out of the lungs. One of the manifestation and major symptoms of this disease is cough, along with wheezing and shortness of breath. The specialty of a cough with regards to COPD is that it does not go away and a lot of mucus is coughed out, without any relief. Once these signs start getting serious, there is obstruction in the lungs.
All the aforementioned conditions and other breathing problems affecting the nasal passage and the air tract can cause chronic cough as well as shortness of breath. The only aspect would be the severity of the problem. It is better to consult the concerned doctor for the proper identification of the cause and further treatment.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.