Chronic cough is defined as a cough that lasts for a period of eight weeks or more.
Chronic or persistent cough is a common symptom that can have many causes. The annoying effects of coughing, such as sleep disturbances, chest muscle pain, and urinary incontinence, can affect a person’s quality of life and disrupt his or her daily activities. But what does a cough that does not go away mean?
According to Warrior, it should be noted at the outset that a persistent cough does not necessarily mean a concern about lung cancer. There are many possible reasons for this symptom, but since lung cancer is often overlooked, this important possibility must also be considered, even if there is a good explanation for the formation of a chronic cough.
What is the definition of chronic or persistent cough?
Chronic cough is defined as a cough that lasts for a period of eight weeks or more. The cough may be dry or productive. In other words, the cough may or may not be accompanied by mucus (sputum). This is in contrast to an acute cough that lasts less than eight weeks and is one of the things you experience when you have a cold.
Some possible causes of chronic cough
Three common causes of chronic cough include:
Throat discharge caused by hay fever (allergic rhinitis), sinus infections, nasal polyps, or other diseases.
Asthma – Although people with asthma often have symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath, in others the cough is the only symptom.
Acid Reflux – Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common causes of chronic cough that is often overlooked. For some people, there may be no symptoms such as heartburn and a chronic cough is the only symptom.
Other common causes of chronic cough include:
Smoking – Unfortunately, it is often difficult to distinguish a cough caused by smoking from a cough caused by other conditions, such as lung cancer.
Infection – Pertussis is one of the most common causes of chronic cough.
Medication – Some medications, especially a group of medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease, can cause a chronic cough. Approximately 10 to 20% of people treated with ACE inhibitors develop a chronic cough.
Less common causes of chronic cough
Benign and malignant tumors such as lung cancer. For 2% of people with a chronic cough, lung cancer is the leading cause, and it can be difficult to distinguish a cough associated with lung cancer from a cough that has developed for other reasons. Lung diseases such as emphysema, bronchiectasis, and sarcoidosis
Fungal infections such as coccidiomycosis, histoplasmosis, and tuberculosis
The arrival of a foreign object.
When to see a doctor?
If you have a chronic cough, even if you believe the cause is obvious, such as smoking or allergies, you should see a doctor. See a doctor right away if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or blood with a cough.
Depending on the severity of the cough, the doctor will first consider controlling the symptoms to make the patient feel more comfortable. Then a test is recommended to diagnose the cause of chronic cough. These tests and experiments include the following:
Detailed history and physical examination
Blood tests to check for signs of infection
X-rays to look for evidence of infection from the tumor
CT scan of the chest or CT scan of the sinuses to check for signs of infection or a tumor
Pulmonary function tests to check for lung diseases such as asthma and emphysema
Esophageal pH test to evaluate gastric acid reflux as a possible cause of chronic cough
Bronchoscopy to check for the presence of foreign bodies or to assess the airways for the presence of a tumor
Laryngoscopy to examine the condition of the throat and gingiva
Chronic cough treatment will be selected according to the main cause of these conditions and the severity of the cough and the extent of its disruption in daily activities.