Unlike acute cough which eventually withdraws and is not considered as a serious symptom, chronic cough may point to severe medical conditions and the patients need to report it to the doctor so that the actual cause can be found as soon as possible. Not only that chronic cough is irritating, it can also exhaust a patient and interfere in sleep.
Causes of Chronic Cough
The most frequent causes of chronic cough include asthma, postnasal drip and irritation caused by acid reflux. Additional and less significant causes include infections, a variety of lung diseases and certain medications.
In patients who are suffering from postnasal drip secretions from sinuses irritate the back of the throat and lead to cough. Increased production of secretions occurs in different allergies and chronic forms of rhinitis and sinusitis.
Asthma is another leading cause of chronic cough. Patients who have asthma may bring the symptoms of the disease under control. However, some of them suffer from chronic cough especially during respiratory infections or if a person is exposed to allergens for a longer period of time.
And finally, people who suffer from acid reflux develop chronic cough which is actually a consequence of chronic irritation of the throat by stomach acid.
Less common causes of chronic cough include the following lung diseases: chronic bronchitis, eosinophilic bronchitis, lung cancer and sometimes cold. ACE inhibitors are medications that are administered in people who are suffering from hypertension. One of their side effects is a chronic cough. If it occurs the specific medication needs to be discontinued and the patient is prescribed a new drug.
Treatment for Chronic Cough
The treatment for chronic cough basically depends on the cause. People who are suffering from asthma need to stay away from potential allergens and to take prescribed medications regularly. In postnasal drip the underlying cause such as chronic rhinitis or sinusitis must be brought under control and chronic cough will withdraw. And if acid reflux causes chronic cough patients are prescribed medications which reduce the production of stomach acid and in some cases even surgical repair may prevent stomach acid from causing irritation of the throat.
Infections which lead to chronic cough are treated with antibiotics and/or bronchodilatators and lung cancer requires special treatment including surgical excision of the tumor and postoperative chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.