What is Chronic Cough?
What is Chronic Cough? Chronic cough is a long-lasting cough, which is about two months or more in adults, and one month or more in children. Chronic cough itself is not really a disease, but a symptom of other health problems.
Chronic cough is sometimes not a signal of a serious condition. However, this endless cough can reduce the quality of sleep, disrupt the balance of the body, and disrupt the routine of the sufferer. In 10 to 20 percent of chronic cough cases experienced by adults are known to be triggered by genetic hypersensivity (atopy) and exposure to secondhand smoke.
There are several types of chronic cough, among them:
- Chronic dry cough. A cough that does not produce mucus and is usually a symptom of a sinus disorder or a viral infection.
- Chronic cough is wet. The cough that produces mucus and usually indicates a bacterial or fluid infection in the lung, depending on the color of the mucus produced.
- Coughing up stress. Coughs that occur due to seizures in the respiratory tract, are generally caused by pressure of the mind or stress. This cough does not produce mucus and is not associated with any infection.
- Coughing “barks”. Coughs caused by this viral infection generally affect children. The cause of sounds like this barking dog is the result of swelling of the trachea.
- Whooping cough. The cough also called pertussis is classified as an infectious disease that is contagious, and can cause death in infants aged under 1 year.
Causes of Chronic Cough
Here are some of the factors that cause chronic cough classified as common, including:
- Postnasal drip. This is a condition in which excessive bladder accumulates in the back of the throat causing coughing. This condition is also called upper respiratory cough syndrome (UACS).
- Asthma. Occurs in a particular season (especially winter) or after having an upper respiratory tract infection.
- Stomach acid disease. Acid from the stomach that rises into the esophagus.
Infection. Like pneumonia, flu, colds, to whooping cough (pertussis).
- Blood pressure medication. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE Inhibitor) inhibitors commonly prescribed for patients with high blood pressure or heart failure.
- Chronic bronchitis. Chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract commonly caused by smoking or frequent exposure to secondhand smoke. Diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema also become part of the disease of smokers.
- Inhaling excess air pollution.
- Working on site with the risk of frequent inhalation of irritant particles.
Although rare, there are also a number of other things that can cause chronic stones, such as:
- Aspiration. Or the entry of foreign objects to the respiratory tract. In adults, aspiration is usually caused by choking on food or drink, whereas in children it is usually caused by a foreign object (toy).
- Bronchiolitis. Respiratory tract infections that cause inflammation and blockage in the bronchioles.
- Bronchiectasis. Damage to the respiratory tract.
- Pharyngeal larynx reflux. Stomach acids that rise into the throat.
- Cystic fibrosis. Diseases that cause mucus-mucus in the body becomes thick and sticky.
- Nonasthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis. Inflammation of the respiratory tract without any asthma factor.
- Sarcosyosis. Combination of inflammation of cells in the body, usually in the lungs.
- Lung cancer.
- Cardiovascular Conditions. Includes heart failure, pulmonary embolism, to swelling of the major blood vessels (aortic aneurysm).
- Vitamin B deficiency– One of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, the sensory neuropathy, is thought to be one of the causes of chronic cough.
Chronic Cough Symptoms
The symptoms that accompany chronic cough vary, from which is still relatively mild, to serious. Some of the accompanying symptoms of chronic cough are still mild:
- Nose cold or clogged
- Feels like there is fluid flowing continuously behind the throat (postnasal drip)
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath and wheezing wheeze
- Heartburn and feel sour in the mouth
While the symptoms of accompanying dry cough that is classified as more serious, but rarely happens are:
- Cold sweat at night
- High fever
- Weight loss
- Feels pain in the chest
- Coughing up blood
See your doctor immediately if the cough does not stop for up to 8 weeks, or experience any of the above symptoms.
Diagnosis of Chronic Cough
In the early stages, the doctor will usually perform a physical test and ask about a medical history, when symptoms are felt, smoking habits, environmental conditions, ongoing medication, to places visited before symptoms appear. If a chronic cough is suspected, your doctor may suggest a series of tests, such as:
- X-ray. Although it can not detect common cough causes such as asthma, gastric acid or postnasal drip, X-rays on the chest are usually performed to see if there are signs of related illnesses such as lung cancer, pneumonia or other diseases. X-ray results can also be used to detect sinus infections.
- CT Scan. This test is usually done to diagnose the condition of the lungs more deeply, such as infection or other problems.
- Pulmonary function test. To measure how deep the patient can pull and exhale, a device called a spirometer is used. Diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be detected through this tool. In certain cases, the doctor may perform further asthma tests by measuring the respiratory rate before and after inhaling the drug with metacoline content.
- Laboratory test. Doctors will generally recommend to do a bacterial laboratory test if the mucus that comes out when the cough has a certain color.
- Bronchoscopy. This action uses aids such as a flexible pipe equipped with lights and cameras, which are inserted through the mouth and throat to see the condition of the lungs and the respiratory tract through a prepared monitor. At the same time, doctors may also take action called a biopsy, taking a small portion of the tissue from the respiratory tract to be examined in the laboratory.
- Rinoskopi. In this test, the doctor will use a special tool to check the condition inside the nose to determine the cause of the cough experienced.
- Gastric acid test. This support test is performed to check the acid levels that may be contained in the patient’s esophagus.
- Echocardiography test. This test is usually done if the doctor suspects an obstacle in the patient’s heart.
Treatment of Chronic Cough
Depending on the type of symptoms suffered, the following treatments may be recommended:
- Drugs. Some medications such as antibiotics (against bacteria and pneumonia), antihistamines and decongestants (to alleviate respiratory inflammation and allergies), and glucocorticoids (to alleviate hormonal problems, chronic bronchitis, and asthma) may be suggested. There are also inhaled medications such as bronchodilators that doctors usually use for asthma patients as inflammation of the respiratory and congested respiratory tract.
- Coughing cough. If the cough does not subside and there are no significant symptoms, doctors will usually prescribe cough medicines such as dextomethorphan, benzonatate, to codeine or hydrocodone. Some of these drugs can be purchased freely, but have side effects such as drowsiness to dependence.
- Stomach acid reflux. Patients with chronic cough caused by excess stomach acid will usually be prescribed drugs with antacid content, H-2 receptor inhibitor or proton pump inhibitor. Some patients sometimes have surgery to solve this problem, though rarely.
Talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications, especially for angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE Inhibitor) inhibitors or people aged 4 and under to avoid dangerous side effects.
Complications of Chronic Cough
In addition to causing anxiety and irritation, chronic persistent cough symptoms may also lead to some further complications, such as:
- The ribs are broken if the cough is too tight
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fainting (syncope)
- Excess urine (urinary incontinence)
Immediately see a doctor when experiencing chronic cough symptoms to avoid further complications, or when feeling one of these complications.
Prevention of Chronic Cough
In addition to treating it appropriately when a cough arises, some of the following we can do to reduce the risk of chronic cough, including:
- Drink warm drinks like water or tea on a regular basis to thin the mucus that collects in the throat. Warm soup can be an option.
- Cough syrup suction cough to relieve throat irritation.
- Avoid smoking and the environment of smokers so smoke does not settle in the lungs.
- If you are stomach acid, it is advisable to avoid trigger foods and drinks such as spicy, sour, mint, chocolate and caffeine foods.
- Add a moisturizer in the air conditioner to add moisture to the air and launch a choked airway. If not possible, bathe with warm water or inhale moisture.
- Use a nasal spray or Neti Pot therapy (nasal irrigation using saline solution) to remove mucus in the respiratory tract.
Read the rules of use and be careful when using neti pot so as not to cause further irritation.
If the condition worsens, see your doctor immediately for further treatment