Did you develop a chronic cough after an illness? What was the cause of your chronic cough?
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What are causes of chronic cough?
Some common causes of chronic cough include asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus problems (for example sinus infection), and esophageal reflux of stomach contents. In rare cases, chronic cough may be the result of inhaling foreign objects into the lungs (usually in children). It is important to see a doctor who may order a
chest X-ray if a chronic cough is present. The following are common causes of
Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of chronic cough.
Asthma is a disease of the airways, resulting in difficulty breathing or
wheezing often characterized by abnormal breathing tests. Some asthma sufferers
have chronic cough as their only symptom. They may even have normal lung
functions tests. This is often referred to as cough-variant asthma.
symptoms can be aggravated by cold air, exposure to air pollutants,
pollen, smoke, or perfumes.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) refers to
acid reflux, or backward flow, of stomach acid
and other contents into the esophagus. If stomach acid moves backward up the
esophagus, reflexes result in spasm of the airways that can cause shortness of
breath and coughing. In some instances, acid reflux can be so severe that substances
can be inhaled (aspirated) into the lungs and cause similar symptoms as well as damage to
lung tissue. In some individuals, no sensation of heartburn is felt and their
only symptom may be cough.
Sinus problems and postnasal drip can also cause chronic cough
with mucus. This
condition can be difficult to detect. Sometimes CT scan of the sinuses is
necessary for diagnosis. Affected individuals often complain of a "tickle in
their throat" and frequent throat clearing.
Infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia can cause
acute cough or a chronic cough. These
infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungus. Viral infections do not
respond to antibiotics. In patients with asthma, viral upper respiratory
infections often result in a prolonged cough even after the infection has
A particular strain of bacterial pneumonia, called Mycoplasma,
may cause a chronic cough with fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and
sputum production. This infection is sometimes referred to as "walking
pneumonia," and commonly affects young and healthy people.
Whooping cough (pertussis) is an acute, highly contagious respiratory
infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.
cough commonly affects infants and young children, but can be prevented by
immunization with pertussis vaccine. In adults, whooping cough can be a
cause of chronic cough.
Chronic cough in children is uncommon. Foreign material
obstructing the airways of the lungs, asthma, and allergies are evaluated by
Certain medications, notably ACE inhibitors
captopril [Capoten] etc.) used in
treating high blood pressure, can cause chronic cough.
Less common causes of chronic cough include allergies, tumors, sarcoidosis,
congestive heart failure, or other lung
diseases such as chronic obstructive disease (COPD) or emphysema.
If chronic cough persists it is important to be evaluated by a doctor. The doctor
who will consider the possibility
of asthma, postnasal drip, esophageal reflux, drug side
effects, interstitial lung disease, or other unusual infections.