Chronic Cough

Chest | Pulmonology | Chronic Cough (Symptom)


A cough is a reflex action that occurs as an attempt to clear the airways of mucus, sputum, a foreign body, or any other irritants or blockages. A cough is productive when it brings up mucus or sputum and unproductive, or dry, when it does not. Many coughs are due to irritation of the airways by dust, smoke or a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Coughing is a feature of bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, and lung cancer.

Chronic cough is a cough that persists. Chronic cough is not a disease in itself; rather it is a symptom of an underlying condition.


Some common causes of chronic cough include asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus problems (for example sinus infection), and esophageal reflux of stomach contents. Common causes of chronic coughing include: cigarette smoking, actually the most common cause of chronic cough; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) refers to acid reflux or backward flow of stomach acid and other contents into the esophagus.

Certain medications used in treating high blood pressure, can cause chronic cough. Infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia can cause acute cough or a chronic cough. Less common causes of chronic cough include allergies, tumours, sarcoidosis, congestive heart failure, or other lung diseases such as chronic obstructive disease (COPD) or emphysema.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The treatment of cough is directed towards the particular by the cause. In order to discover the cause, a chest x-ray is necessary.


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