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One of the body’s defense mechanism is the coughing. When one coughs, several things happen in the body. The larynx closes while the abdominal and chest muscles contract and, under high pressure, the air from the lungs is pushed out. That is how we cough. Coughing is very important because it serves to eliminate the irritants from the airways. Coughing usually appears as a warning sign for many health problems and diseases.

Types of coughing

There are two types of cough: dry and chesty. While dry cough is just irritating, chesty cough usually brings up mucus or phlegm from the lungs. Furthermore, cough can be divided into two classes according to the seriousness, and therefore, it can be acute and chronic. Acute coughing occurs abruptly and usually lasts about three weeks. On the other hand, chronic coughing lasts longer than acute, and there are cases when it can last even more than two months.

Causes of cough

In the majority of cases, cough is triggered by certain irritants, such as dust, smoke and pollutants. Furthermore, it can be caused by respiratory system diseases, viral infections and various allergies. Since there are acute and chronic coughs, there are different causes for these two types of coughs.

Acute coughing can be triggered by certain infectious conditions, such as common cold, pneumonia, whooping cough and sinusitis, or it can be caused by certain noninfectious disorders, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary embolism and acute heart failure.

The most common causes of chronic cough are postnasal drip, allergic rhinitis and chronic bronchitis, as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease and bronchiectasis. Furthermore, chronic coughs can be caused by congestive heart failure, lung cancer and sarcoidosis, although it rarely occurs. When chronic cough occurs many people are afraid of the lung cancer, but the fact is that the chronic coughing is not a common symptom of that condition. It usually appears because the patients are smokers. There are certain medicines that have chronic coughing as an adverse effect. In the majority of cases, the medicines used for hypertension and heart failure (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or beta-blockers) induce chronic coughing.

One of the most frequent causes for the occurrence of chronic cough is smoking, which has a tendency to damage the lungs and therefore, it causes coughing. Furthermore, there are certain allergens, such as dust, pollen and pets, and environmental pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide or diesel, which can trigger chronic coughing.

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