6 cough symptoms you should never ignore
Know when it's time to see the doctor. Here are six chronic cough symptoms that you should never ignore
Description: A cough accompanied by postnasal drip, repeated throat clearing, nasal discharge, or excessive phlegm
Possible causes: Allergies or a sinus injection
Response: See your doctor, who may prescribe allergy medication or refer you to an allergist for diagnosis and treatment. If you have a sinus infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
Description: A nighttime cough that brings up no mucus and may end with a wheezing or a rattling sound
Possible causes: Asthma
Response: See your doctor, who may prescribe a bronchodilator, inhaled corticosteroid, or other medication to control asthma.
Description: A cough after starting to take an ACE inhibitor
Possible causes: A drug side effect; ACE inhibitors cause dry cough in five to 10 percent of patients
Response: Talk with your doctor about whether another drug should be substituted.
Description: A dry cough accompanied by shortness of breath
Possible causes: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is almost always caused by smoking
Response: See your doctor, who may do a test to measure lung capacity and order a chest x-ray. There is no cure, but symptoms can be treated.
Description: A cough accompanied by bouts of heartburn that occur more than twice a week
Possible causes: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition involving chronic heartburn
Response: See your doctor, who will prescribe antacids and drugs that inhibit stomach acid production and may recommend gastroscopy to assess damage to the esophagus.
Description: A cough that worsens over time and may be accompanied by fatigue, chest pain, coughing up blood, hoarseness, or shortness of breath
Possible causes: Lung cancer
Response: See your doctor, who will order diagnostic tests such as a chest x-ray, CT scan, MRI, and blood tests.
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Adapted from Disease Free (Reader's Digest Canada)