Cough - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Cough, also known as tussis, is the voluntary or involuntary act of your body to clear the throat. Through it, your respiratory tract can get rid of microbes, foreign particles, irritants, mucus, and fluids. It is indeed a protective mechanism of your body. Through coughing, your body protects any foreign particle entrance to your respiratory tract. 


One can cough deliberately, or it may occur as a part of reflex. Mostly the cough gets better on its own. But sometimes, it can be an indication of some serious illness. Therefore, if you have a complaint of chronic cough, you must visit the healthcare provider soon. 


Chronic cough is one that lasts more than eight weeks. Your doctor will take a detailed history and may ask you to get some evaluation tests done. 


Causes of Cough


Allergy 

Allergy and postnatal drip is a common cause of persistent cough. It occurs when you are exposed to certain allergens-substance with which your body is allergic to. It can be anything, either dust, mites, cold weather, or smoke.


Postnasal drip trickles down your throat and irritates your airways. Due to which you need to cough it out. Cough due to postnasal drip becomes worse upon lying down. Your healthcare provider may prescribe you antiallergics, nasal sprays, and corticosteroids to treat it.


Asthma 

Another common health condition that can cause cough is asthma- a condition in which bronchoconstriction of bronchioles occurs. The most common symptoms of asthma are wheezing and breathlessness, but some people may only have a dry cough. It occurs all day long but becomes worse at night. Asthma aggravates upon exposure to allergens like dust, mites, animal danders, and cold. 


Allergy can aggravate asthma in patients already having it because both of them exacerbate upon exposure to allergens. Your doctor will prescribe you inhalers as preventive and rescue measures. 


GERD

GERD, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, can also cause cough. The person may not feel any symptoms. But it can occur because gastric acid travels back towards the esophagus.


ACE Inhibitors

The ACE inhibitor is a class of drug that is used to treat high blood pressure, most commonly used in emergencies. It includes drugs like captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, etc. They cause dry cough due to their certain mechanism of action.


Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers are a class of drug that is used in the treatment of high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and other heart conditions. They should never be given to asthmatic people as they may precipitate it, eventually causing the cough.


Heart Failure

People having heart disease, lung disease, or kidney disease can suffer from heart failure. In this condition, fluid accumulates in the patient's lungs that eventually causes a cough, which becomes worse upon lying down.


The signs and symptoms of heart failure are breathlessness, swelling in ankles and feet, persistent cough, production of white frothy sputum, and fatigue.


Other Causes of Cough

Some other causes of cough include:


  • Pneumonia 

  • Bronchitis 

  • Bronchiectasis

  • Lung cancer

  • Stress

  • Tuberculosis 

  • Swallowing difficulty 

  • Emphysema 

  • Pertussis

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • Croup

  • Fibrosis

  • Smoking 

  • Sinusitis

  • Laryngitis

  • Cystic Fibrosis

Treatment 


The treatment for cough depends upon the cause. If it occurs due to bacterial infections, antibiotics may help. Moreover, if it occurs due to allergy or asthma, then antiallergics and asthma medications may be given respectively. 


Conclusion 


Cough, also known as tussis, is the voluntary or involuntary act of your body to clear the throat. Through it, your respiratory tract can get rid of microbes, foreign particles, irritants, mucus, and fluids. It is indeed a protective mechanism of your body. Through coughing, your body protects any foreign particle entrance to your respiratory tract. 


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