A cough is a common condition that affects people of almost all age brackets. Cough can be either chronic or acute in nature. Coughs that are generally acute in nature lasts for a week whereas a chronic cough can span over a month. Cough isn’t detrimental to one’s health but in some severe cases can cause lightheadedness, vomiting and consequent nausea. Sometimes, cough can be annoying causing severe disruption in your sleeping pattern.
Causes of Cough
It is often times difficult to pinpoint the exact reason which triggers a cough. Bodily dysfunctions such as existing conditions (Eg. Asthma, allergies) and external reasons such as tobacco usage, acid reflux and postnatal dripping (a condition where the sinuses produce extra mucus which drips down from the back of the throat) may trigger such a condition. In other cases, it may appear as a symptom of more serious diseases like upper respiratory infection, bronchitis or sarcoidosis (accumulation of inflammatory cells in various parts of the body).
Having a smoking habit is one of the primary reason for chronic cough. So much so that doctors have termed it as a separate condition called smoker’s cough. It has been found that secondhand smoke or passive smoking also leads to cough in addition to more detrimental damages to the bronchial passage (region comprising the lungs). Between the sexes, statistics determined women are typically more prone to developing cough than men. A relatively more sensitive cough reflex in women has been attributed as cause.
A casual cough is normal and to an extent even beneficial as it helps clean irritants and unwanted secretions from the lungs and the passage of the throat. This in turn prevents infection. But having a persistent cough can be harmful as it can lead to a plethora of associated problems. Apart from a dry and painful throat it can lead to further maladies such as headache, sweating, dizziness and even loss of bladder control. Although mostly in rare cases, it can even cause a person to pass out (known as syncope in medical terms).
Diagnosis and treatment
A general physician may prescribe you oral medications and cough syrup for a standard cough. Yet a reason for concern may arise if the condition persists even after. In such cases, the doctor will evaluate your medical history and make you undergo imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans. Post diagnosis the doctor may prescribe appropriate cough suppressants or strong antibiotics to relieve your condition.