Why do we cough?
A cough starts as a protective function of the body to rid itself of infections and irritants; but over time it can become a nagging and irritating condition which can significantly interfere with your day to day life, job, sleep, and even personal relationships.
The cause of your cough cannot necessarily be detected by a chest X-ray. Relief provided by over-the-counter antihistamines, cough suppressants, and mucolytics is temporary. Codeine is not routinely recommended to treat cough these days.
Types of coughs
Acute cough is less than 2 weeks and is mostly due to viral infection of upper airway. It cam also be caused by allergies, bacterial infections and medications.
Subacute cough lasts between 2 weeks to 3 months and can be a lingering effect of acute cough, or presage chronic cough. In addition to infections, allergies, irritants it can be from medications, postnasal drip, acid reflex, tuberculosis or even asthma. There is increasing incidence of whooping cough in the community due to waning immunity and change in bacterial structure of Bacillus pertussis, which causes whooping cough.
Chronic cough is the cough that is lasting more than 3 months. 90% of chronic cough is due to three causes- postnasal drip (upper airway cough syndrome), acid reflex or asthma. Many patients have more than one cause. In addition, whooping cough, medications (especially a group of medication called ACE inhibits, used to treat blood pressure), tuberculosis, COPD, smoking and a variety of conditions of lung, sinuses and airways can cause chronic cough. Congestive heart failure can present as a cough. Lung cancer and other cancers metastasizing in a lung can present simply as cough. Neurogenic cough is another important cause of chronic cough arising from excessively sensitive nerves in you larynx. Sleep Apnea is also recognized as cause of chronic cough.
How can Prana help?
Most cough clinics require a collaboration between pulmonologists, ENT surgeons, allergy specialists and gastroenterologists for diagnosis and treatment. This can entail multiple and expensive visits to specialists and cause significant delay in diagnosis and treatment. Prana Health has the first comprehensive cough clinic in central North Carolina. We provide most services under one roof, which include:
- Nasal endoscopy
- Direct Laryngoscopy
- Allergy testing
- Laboratory testing
- Complete Pulmonary Function testing
- Methacholine Challenge testing
- Cardiopulmonary exercise testing
- Nocturnal Oximetry
- 24 hr pH/impedance monitoring
- Sleep studies
Chest and sinus X-rays and CT scans must be performed at a radiology facility. Bronchoscopy, which is rarely needed,is performed at the hospital.