Why do we cough? 15 possible causes
Coughing is a rather distressing and sometimes even worrying symptom. It's not a disease in itself, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go to the doctor.
A series of investigations or a check carried out by the doctor can determine the cause that led to the appearance of this reflex act of defense of the body. Doctors warn that a number of serious illnesses may be hidden behind this symptom.
Here are the possible causes of the cough:
- Viruses and bacteria. The most common cause of a cough is an infection of the respiratory tract, caused by the cold or flu. Respiratory tract infections are usually caused by a virus and can last from a few days to a week. Influenza infections can take longer and antibiotics are needed.
- Smoking is another common cause of cough. A cough caused by smoking is almost always a chronic cough with a distinctive sound.
- Asthma. A common cause of cough in young children is asthma – an inflammatory lung disease that manifests itself through severe coughing, wheezing, and a feeling of weight in the chest, making diagnosis easy.
- Heart failure is a symptom of coughing.
- Laryngitis. It manifests through inflammation of the larynx and is caused either by an infection or by certain irritating factors. And in the case of laryngitis there is an upset cough.
- Gastroesophageal reflux, another condition that can cause a chronic cough. Basically, the stomach contents reach back into the esophagus, and this reflux stimulates a reflex in the trachea, causing the person to cough.
- Sinusitis – a sinus infection that has a coughing symptom.
- Tuberculosis – an infectious disease that affects the lungs and other organs. The disease can be prevented and treated.
- Acute bronchitis. This condition lasts 10 days, but the cough persists for up to 2-3 weeks. There is also chronic bronchitis that lasts for several weeks and is commonly found in smokers. Careful! Chronic bronchitis is usually part of the spectrum of lung disease related to smoking, called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition that requires mandatory treatment from a specialist pulmonologist as well as smoking cessation.
- Pneumonia. It is a disease that is based on fungal, bacterial or viral causes and that affects the pulmonary alveoli leading to breathing difficulties. It is an extremely dangerous disease which, if left untreated, can lead to death.
- Whooping cough – is a serious condition of the respiratory system caused by the bacterium Berdetella pertussis. The disease is manifested by strong coughing and breathing difficulties.
- Lung cancer. The disease occurs most often in people who have smoked or smoked and are over 50 years old. The main manifestations are strong, chronic cough, accompanied by expectoration, sometimes with blood, chest pain, hoarse voice.
- Pulmonary emphysema – usually occurs in smokers. It requires the presence of the doctor and the urgent start of the treatment.
- Certain allergies can lead to coughing.
- Some medicines will cause coughing, although this is practically a side effect.
Please note: if the cough is severe, it lasts longer than 3 weeks, it is mandatory to go to the doctor. Also, if you have lost weight, you have difficulty breathing, chest pain and fever that does not give up on anti-thermal you should go to the doctor.