When you have a cough that does not go away or have a cough that is accompanied by symptoms such as wheezing or shortness of breath, it may be a sign that you have an underlying lung condition. Dr. David Kamelhar and Dr. Eric Teller at Kamelhar-Teller Pulmonology in Midtown East, Manhattan, specialize in evaluating coughs, determining the root cause of the cough, and providing individualized treatment that restores optimal lung function. To schedule an appointment, call the office in New York City or use the online booking feature today.
Cough Q & A
What is a cough?
A cough is a natural reaction that occurs when an irritant enters your airway or when you have excessive mucus in your lung or bronchial tubes. Coughing forces these substances out and prevents them from causing inflammation or infection in your lung.
An acute cough appears suddenly and may last a few weeks. That type of cough usually develops when you have an upper respiratory infection caused by a cold, flu, or acute bronchitis.
Chronic coughs are coughs that last longer than eight weeks. They may signal an underlying health condition that needs medical attention. A formal evaluation of a chronic cough is advised.
What conditions cause a chronic cough?
Chronic coughs often develop in people with allergic nasal congestion, sinusitis(sinus inflammation or infection) , gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heart failure, and in many other conditions that primarily affect the lungs and other of your upper body.
However, coughing may be a primary symptom of long-lasting lung conditions such as:
- Chronic bronchitis in cigarette smokers
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Pulmonary fibrosis or scarring
- Interstitial lung disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection
- COVID-related lung damage
- Lung cancer
- Congestive heart failure and other cardiac problems
- And many others
Any time you have a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks, it is important to consider a full evaluation to learn the underlying cause and get the appropriate treatment. Many lung conditions are not curable and may get progressively worse. Treatment can slow or stop the ongoing lung damage, or in many cases repair the damage that has occurred
What symptoms accompany a cough?
Depending on the condition causing your cough, you may also experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Sore throat
Many patients find that a chronic cough causes fatigue, either due to the underlying condition or because the cough interferes with their sleep.
How is a cough diagnosed and treated?
The most important first step is to identify where the cough originates, such as in the throat or in the bronchial tubes. Your treatment targets the underlying cause of your cough, which may incorporate a range of therapies from medications and inhalers to stopping smoking and avoiding environmental irritants. It is also important to consider that a cough may originate in multiple locations, not just one.
With over forty years of expertise in treating cough, Dr. Kamelhar applies the guidelines of the American College of Chest Physicians in analyzing your cough and finding the best diagnostic and treatment plan for you. Utilizing this approach, the vast majority of chronic coughs can be remedied successfully.
When you have a cough, Kamelhar-Teller Pulmonology follows a careful process to evaluate your symptoms and quickly identify any red flags for underlying conditions including past or current cigarette smoking or vaping, exposure to environmental irritants, excessive mucus production, unexplained weight loss, or having a fever.
Depending on the results of your history and physical examination they may suggest diagnostic testing such as a chest X-ray or CT scan, blood work, and pulmonary function testing.
Once the cause or causes of your cough is defined, treatment can be directed that will eliminate or greatly improve your cough
If you need help with an ongoing cough, call Kamelhar-Teller Pulmonology or book an appointment online today.