Expressing that a cough that persists for weeks or one that brings up thick, greenish-yellow phlegm or bloody mucus is a condition that needs medical attention, Near East University Hospital Doctor Ali Ahmet Uzan states that cough is the commonest complaint of the patients admitting to hospitals. He underlines that determining the cause of cough via thorough examination and tests is crucial to effective treatment as there may be more than one underlying condition.
Defining cough as expelling air out from lungs with a sharp sound due to the irritation of throat or airways, Dr. Ali Ahmet Uzan stated that cough is the common complaint of persons applying to a doctor lately.
"When the airways become clogged with mucus or foreign particles, coughing is the reflex reaction to clear the particles and protect the lungs. A cough can be voluntary or involuntary and it can be dry, wet, bloody or phlegmatic.
Sputum is the mixture coughed up from the respiratory tract and especially the lungs that is composed of mucus but may contain pus, blood, fibrin, and particles. An occasional cough is normal and healthy. A cough persisting for several weeks or coughing up thick, greenish-yellow or bloody phlegm is a condition that needs medical attention" noted he.
Vigorous coughing may cause sleeplessness…
“At times, coughing can be very forceful. Prolonged, vigorous coughing can irritate the lungs and cause muscle, rib or cartilage tension or chest pain. Vigorous coughing is also a factor inhibiting the sleep of the patients. Since coughing is essentially the body’s response for clearing up irritants in the breathing passages, it’s important to find out what exactly causes the problem. A cough can be chronic or acute. A cough is considered acute when it lasts fewer than three weeks and chronic when it lasts more than eight weeks” noted he.
Considering the increasing number of persons admitting to hospitals due to cough, Dr. Uzan delivered further information regarding cough, causes, symptoms and when to see a doctor.
Common Causes of Acute Cough;
- Upper respiratory tract infection (including acute bronchitis)
- Postnasal drip
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation — worsening of symptoms
Uncommon Causes of Acute Cough;
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in an artery in the lung)
- Aspiration (piece of food in adults; foreign bodies in children)
- Heart Failure
Common Causes of Chronic Cough;
- Chronic bronchitis
- Postnasal drip
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Respiratory hypersensitivity after a viral or bacterial respiratory infection
Uncommon Causes of Chronic Cough;
- The use of blood pressure drugs (ACE inhibitors)
- Lung cancer
- Fungal infections of the lung
Treating the underlying condition causing cough is the most effective treatment method...
Expressing that asthma could cause cough, Dr. Ali Ahmet Uzan stated that asthma might trigger coughing rather than wheezing and that in this case asthma related cough could be experienced. "An asthma-related cough may come and go with the seasons, appear after an upper respiratory tract infection. Asthma can't be cured but the symptoms can be controlled. Treating asthma early may prevent long-term lung damage and help keep the condition from worsening over time. Generally, cough plays an important role in removing sputum and clearing the airways. Therefore, it is essential that the cough is not suppressed. The best way to treat coughing is to pinpoint the underlying reason and treat it. People suffering from stroke or dementia frequently experience swallowing problem triggering cough. Aspiration of piece of food, beverage, saliva and residues in the esophagus of such persons is essential for an effective treatment”.