Chronic Cough in the Adult Patient 

Chronic cough is a persistent cough that lasts for more than eight weeks, which can be distressing and interfere with a person’s daily life. It is a common symptom that can be caused by a wide range of underlying medical conditions. In this response, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic cough.

There are many possible causes of chronic cough, including:

  1. Respiratory tract infections: Chronic cough may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the respiratory tract, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or tuberculosis.
  2. Asthma: A chronic cough may be a symptom of asthma, a condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways.
  3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Acid reflux from the stomach can irritate the throat and cause a chronic cough.
  4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): This is a group of lung conditions that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which can cause a chronic cough.
  5. Chronic sinusitis: Inflammation of the sinuses can cause mucus to drip down the back of the throat, causing a chronic cough.
  6. Allergies: Chronic cough may be a symptom of an allergy to certain substances, such as pollen, dust, or pet dander.
  7. Smoking: Cigarette smoking is a common cause of chronic cough, as it can irritate the airways and cause inflammation.

Symptoms of chronic cough

Chronic Cough in the Adult Patient

Symptoms: The main symptom of chronic cough is a persistent cough that lasts for more than eight weeks. The cough may be dry or productive (with phlegm), and it may be worse at night or early in the morning. Other symptoms may include:

  1. Wheezing
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Chest pain
  4. Fatigue
  5. Hoarseness
  6. Sore throat

Diagnosis: To diagnose chronic cough, your doctor will first take a medical history and perform a physical examination. They may also order some tests, such as:

  1. Chest X-ray: This can help to identify any lung abnormalities that may be causing the cough.
  2. Pulmonary function test: This measures how well the lungs are working and can help to diagnose conditions such as asthma and COPD.
  3. Bronchoscopy: This involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera into the lungs to examine the airways and take a tissue sample, if necessary.
  4. Allergy testing: This can help to identify any allergies that may be causing the cough.

Treatment: The treatment for chronic cough depends on the underlying cause. Some common treatments include:

  1. Medications: Depending on the cause of the cough, medications such as inhalers, antibiotics, or antihistamines may be prescribed.
  2. Lifestyle changes: If the cough is caused by smoking, quitting smoking can help. Avoiding exposure to irritants such as pollution or allergens can also be beneficial.
  3. Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove blockages or growths that are causing the cough.
  4. Speech therapy: This can be helpful in treating a chronic cough caused by a problem with the vocal cords.

In summary, chronic cough is a persistent cough that lasts for more than eight weeks, and it can be caused by a variety of underlying medical conditions. If you experience a chronic cough, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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