Dry Cough - An Asthma Symptom
Asthma is one of the oldest and most serious conditions that you can have, and knowing how to identify the possible existence of it is important. A dry cough is one of the more common symptoms to watch for, and when it is combined with other symptoms or left on its own it may be reason enough to seek out a medical opinion. Left to itself, asthma can eventually lead to a reduced quality of life and even death. With the right steps taken towards treatment, it is much easier to manage the problem. But first you'll have to identify the issue, and a dry cough is the first sign.
A dry cough, as mentioned, is one of the main symptoms that could suggest you're suffering from asthma. It is essentially nothing but a regularly occurring cough that persists for a period of time with no phlegm production. The frequency of the dry cough can vary greatly as can its duration and intensity. Additionally, it may become harder to breath during the coughing spell, just before it, and immediately after it. While it isn't quite an asthma 'attack' it is still one of the precursors to one and is a sign that asthma may be a factor.
If you're experiencing a dry cough that fits this description, you may have asthma. Asthma is essentially a narrowing of the airways within the lung. The airways swell, restricting the airflow entering the lungs and making it much harder to breath. Depending on the situation, it can also trigger the dry cough that usually accompanies asthma. The specific causes for a cough suggest that it is the body's natural reaction when trying to clear obstructions in the airway. In the case of asthma, the body is trying to keep the airways clear but is incapable of doing so since nothing is really blocking them that can be cleared, hence the absence of phlegm.
Asthma can be controlled through various medications, and avoiding certain issues that can exacerbate the problem. When a dry cough creeps up on you, the physical act of coughing can cause you to have even more trouble breathing, creating a vicious circle that can be terrifying and dangerous. If you suspect that you may be suffering from asthma you shouldn't hesitate to visit your physician for a more complete diagnosis. In this case your life may very well depend upon it.
Other Dry Cough Causes and Diagnosis
Not all symptoms of dry cough attribute to asthma. Dry coughs are common in individuals of all ages and occur for a variety of reasons. Understanding potential causes of a dry cough can help to determine the best remedies and solutions for any type of a dry cough you or someone you know regularly experiences. With a better understanding of dry coughs and their causes, seek out a proper diagnosis from the right medical professional for you.
Viruses and Bugs
Dry coughs are extremely common in individuals who are suffering with a virus, bug, or another type of viral illness. Bacteria that has transformed into a virus, cold, or flu bug has the power to cause a dry cough that lasts anywhere from a few days to more than a few weeks, depending on the severity of your illness as well as the overall state of your immune system.
When you experience a dry cough in conjunction with a virus or bug, it is best to visit a doctor for a prescription medication, shot, or other type of antibiotic to help prevent the cough from becoming more serious or turning into a potential respiratory infection.
Allergies are one of the biggest culprits of dry coughs and trigger them in allergy sufferers throughout all seasons of the year. Whether you are allergic to pollen, mold, or other specific allergens, a dry cough is one of the quickest ways to note that your allergies are affecting you. While sneezing, runny nose, and runny eyes are some of the most prominent side effects experienced with allergies, dry coughs are also extremely common and affect individuals of all ages.
Visiting an allergist is ideal if you suffer from allergy attacks regularly that often lead to a dry cough or seeking remedies for a cough linked to your allergies. In some cases, receiving an allergy shot each season may be ideal for you if the shot has worked to prevent or eliminate your allergy attacks in the past. Trying various prescription medications may also help to alleviate some of the attacks you have during allergy seasons or when you are exposed to pollen, dust, pet dander, and other common triggers.
It is also essential to keep your home and work environment as clean as possible with the best air quality at all times. Keep your filters updated and changed by keeping track of each date you install new filters throughout your home.
Vacuum regularly and be sure to dust frequently, especially if you are a pet owner and if you have adverse reactions to pet dander, dust, and pollen. Have your pets groomed regularly and keep up with baths they need in order to reduce the amount of hair loss you have throughout your home, contributing to the spread of allergens. Change your sheets regularly and if necessary, your clothes after you have been out and traveling throughout the day (to reduce the allergens you track into your home). Wash rugs and mats frequently and ensure you are using air filters to reduce and eliminate the potential for allergen triggers in your most trafficked areas throughout your house.
Post-nasal drip is another culprit of both dry and deep coughs, depending on the severity of the cough that is present in an individual. Post-nasal drips often occur in individuals who suffer from severe allergies, although they are also present in individuals who are overcoming colds, flu bugs, and other viruses that have affected the sinuses, throat, and respiratory tract. Seeing an allergist or a general physical is advisable to overcome post-nasal drip while helping to eliminate drainage and reducing the frequency of the dry cough you are experiencing.
It is always important to keep your surroundings in mind as environmental factors play a major role in dry coughs, especially in individuals who are unsure of any other reasons for having a dry cough on a regular basis.
Even if you do not smoke cigarettes yourself, being in an environment that includes tobacco smoke can cause a dry cough. If there are other smokers in your household, ask them to smoke outside to cut down on the amount of smoke you are inhaling, contributing to your dry cough. Other environmental factors such as a mold problem or dirty furnace filters are extremely harmful to the lungs and cause dry coughs in otherwise healthy individuals.
If you live near or in a large city, you may also experience a dry cough along with wheezing and other respiratory-related symptoms due to an increase amount of pollution inhalation. Even if you do not live in a large city, industrial cities and neighborhoods near various types of plants are extremely susceptible to an increased amount of pollution that is inhaled by nearby residents.
Chronic Lung Disease
Some chronic lung diseases cause dry recurrent coughs in individuals, regardless of the stage of the disease. If you have a family history of lung disease or you have ruled out alternative causes, visit a pulmonologist for a thorough lung checkup and traditional tests. COPD, Interstitial Lung Disease, and Cystic Fibrosis are just a few of the most common chronic lung diseases that commonly cause a dry cough in patients.
Gastric reflux is another cause of a dry cough in individuals. When stomach acid and bile finds its way into the lining of the food pipe, heartburn, gastric backup, and burning sensations occur in patients diagnosed with gastric reflux, or GERD. Dry coughs are commonly reported in patients with GERD. Eliminating foods high in carbohydrates, sugars, and inflammatory properties greatly reduce adverse effects of GERD, helping to calm a dry cough attributed to the condition.
Medication Side Effects
Patients who regularly take blood pressure and heart medications commonly report a dry cough as one of the side effects they experience. Research all medications you are currently taking to determine whether or not a "dry cough" is listed as a possible side effect (and what to do if you begin experiencing a cough yourself). Talk to your general physician or cardiologist regarding the medication you are taking if you begin to experience a dry cough to determine the best solution.
No Leading Cause
In rare cases, doctors may find that there is no leading or suspect cause of a dry cough in a patient. While this is frustrating, there may be methods of improving your environmental surroundings, diet, and other aspects of your lifestyle to help suppress your cough or eliminate it altogether. Over-the-counter medications as well as prescriptions are also available to help suppress, reduce, and eliminate coughs but are often only utilized for short-term viruses or infections.
Taking symptoms you experience along with your environmental surroundings into account while seeking a diagnosis for your dry cough is extremely important. Remaining aware of your surroundings at all times and potential triggers for your dry cough is one of the most important steps to take to get a proper diagnosis with treatment that truly works for you.