A chronic cough is defined as one that lasts eight weeks or longer. More than simply an annoyance, a lingering cough can disrupt your sleep and affect your work. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, runny nose, congestion and heartburn.
If you have a persistent cough that doesn’t disappear after a reasonable amount of time, make an appointment with your physician for an evaluation.
What Causes Chronic Cough?
A cough is your body’s way of expelling a substance that is irritating the air passages. When cells lining the air passages become irritated, they trigger air in the lungs to be forced out under high pressure.
Chronic coughing can be triggered by a variety of factors. These include:
- Postnasal drip
- Smoking and 2nd hand smoke exposure
- Asthma & chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Allergies & respiratory reactions to pollution
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- ACE inhibitors (medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease)
- Nerve irritation related to the voice box and airway
How Is Chronic Cough Treated?
Our expert airway specialist will discuss your medical history and give you a detailed physical exam. This includes a flexible lighted camera passed through your nose and throat to evaluate the internal tissues of your throat, voice box and/or esophagus. Diagnostic tests may be recommended to determine the cause of your chronic cough, including imaging tests, lung function test, and lab tests. This thorough evaluation might include evaluations by our colleague specialists, such as those concentrating in pulmonary and gastroenterology medicine.
Once the diagnosis is made, treatment can begin to correct the root cause. If a single trigger cannot be isolated, treatment to control the frequency and severity can still be recommended.
Call DeFatta ENT & Allergy at (715) 828-2368 for more information or to schedule an appointment.