You might consider cough as a nuance. It disturbs your peace, creates noise, and makes you uncomfortable. You might think that a cough is a health condition or a disease. But it is not. Cough is a symptom of various health conditions. Mostly it occurs when there is a problem in your respiratory system or heart. However, there are various other reasons too. Sometimes a little cough might subside on its own. But sometimes, it might not go on its own. And you should take it seriously because a cough can indicate a serious underlying health problem. You can not take it lightly.
If you have a complaint of a cough that lasts more than two weeks or wakes you up in the night, you must consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible. To get an expert opinion, you can visit the Best Pulmonologist in Lahore.
Coughing is a common reflex action. When a person coughs, he clears or empties his throat of mucus or foreign irritants. While everyone coughs to clear their throat, a few conditions can cause more frequent coughing.
Cough can be acute or chronic. A cough that lasts for less than three weeks and subsides is acute. A coughing episode will often clear up spontaneously or at least significantly improve within two to three weeks.
If your coughing episode lasts between three to eight weeks, it is a subacute cough. A cough that lasts more than eight weeks is chronic, and you may need to consult a doctor to know the reason for the chronic cough.
You should also consult your doctor if you cough up blood or if your cough hasn’t improved within a few weeks, even after taking the medicines, as this could indicate something more serious.
What Causes a Cough?
A cough can be caused by several conditions, some of which may be temporary while others may be permanent. Sometimes it might be nothing serious, but sometimes it can be a severe health condition.
The reasons for a cough can be:
Clearing the throat
Coughing is a common way of clearing your throat. When your airways become plugged up with mucus or foreign particles such as smoke or dust, a person coughs. A cough is a reflex reaction that attempts to clear the particles from the airways and make breathing easier.
Our windpipes have ciliated epithelium, which tries to remove any foreign particle that gets into it by coughing.
Coughing usually increases with exposure to irritants such as smoke.
Viruses and bacteria
The most common reason for a cough is a respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or flu. When you get it, a cough is a necessary symptom with it. However, it goes away as the infection subsidizes.
Respiratory tract infections are usually caused by several viruses and may last from a few days to a week, depending on the type of organism that causes it. Infections caused by the flu may take a little longer to clear up and sometimes require antibiotics if caused by bacteria.
Smoking is a common cause of coughing. A cough caused by smoking is almost always a chronic cough with a distinctive sound. It’s often known as a smoker’s cough. Usually, the harmful chemicals of the smoke damage the epithelium that lines the windpipe, giving rise to several cancers.
Another common cause of coughing, usually in young children, is asthma. Typically, asthmatic coughing involves wheezing, making it easy to identify. If an asthmatic person has a severe cough, you should consult the healthcare provider promptly.
Some medicines may cause coughing, although this is a rare side effect. Medicines that can cause coughing are angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as captopril, and enalapril. They are commonly used to lower high blood pressure in emergencies.
The cough stops when the medication is discontinued. Therefore if you have a complaint of cough and you take the same medicine, you must report to the healthcare provider soon.
Other conditions that can be a cause of coughing include:
- damage to the vocal cords
- postnasal drip
- bacterial infections such as pneumonia
- serious conditions such as pulmonary embolism and heart failure
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- heart failure
- liver cirrhosis
- kidney failure
The Bottom Line
Cough can occur due to various reasons. Sometimes it can be due to serious underlying health conditions. Therefore never take them lightly and visit the healthcare provider as soon as possible. To get an expert opinion, you can consult Pulmonologist in karachi.