A chronic cough can interfere with your life, making it difficult to sleep and function as you normally do. Diagnosing and treating the underlying issue causing your cough can help relieve your symptoms in the long-term.
In this blog, Dr. Marc Bowen, NYC pulmonologist with MXBowen, Physician P.C., Health & Breathing Center, explains what symptoms often coincide with a chronic cough.
What is chronic cough?
An occasional cough is very common, and it actually serves an important function by helping clear irritants and secretions from your lungs while preventing infection. Recurrent coughs can be associated with a brief illness. A chronic cough, however, is one that persists, lasting for more than eight weeks.
It’s a very common reason to visit the doctor, and not only do you become concerned about its underlying cause, you also can suffer other cough-related issues like interrupted sleep, fatigue, and even a broken rib or urinary incontinence.
What causes a chronic cough?
It’s often caused by one or more of the following:
- Postnasal drip – Your nose or sinuses can produce excess mucus that drips down the back or your throat and makes you cough. It can also occur when your nose or sinuses are blocked and mucus is unable to drain normally.
- Asthma – A cough can be a symptom of asthma, especially after an upper respiratory tract infection.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – Stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, which can cause coughing.
- Upper respiratory infection – A cough can sometimes be the last symptom to clear up after an infection such as the cold or flu.
- Chronic bronchitis – Chronic airway inflammation can be accompanied by a cough.
- Treatment with ACE inhibitors – These high blood pressure medications (such as enalapril and lisinopril) can cause coughing.
These conditions can also cause a chronic cough:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Bronchiolitis -an infection of the small air passages in the lungs
- Lung cancer
- Heart failure
- Laryngopharyngeal reflux – stomach acid that backs up into your throat
- Environmental irritants – including dusts and molds, or air that’s too dry or too cold
What are the symptoms?
Depending on what’s causing your cough, you may also experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Postnasal drip – mucus noticeably dripping down the back of your throat
- Congested nose
- Sore throat
As a result of a cough, you can also experience the following:
- Sleep issues
- Urine leakage
- Fractured ribs
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
If you’ve been coughing for more than eight weeks, make an appointment today with MXBowen PPC, Health & Breathing Center in NYC. Our lung doctors specialize in this issue and will diagnose and treat the cause of your problem so you can get relief.