Genetics

Cough can run in family

A family history of cough increases the risk of both the onset and persistence of cough, according to the Ph.D. study of Anne Lätti. One in two recent-onset coughers still reported the presence of a cough 12 months later. ...

Immunology

Spotting asthma in your baby or toddler

(HealthDay)—Diagnosing babies and toddlers with asthma is challenging, because it's difficult to measure lung function in this young group. What makes diagnosis easier is knowing your child's symptoms.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Natural language processing helps identify patients with chronic cough

Researchers from Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine and Merck & Co. created and validated a natural language processing (NLP) algorithm to identify patients with chronic cough. The validation paper, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Another deadly disease for smokers: Pulmonary fibrosis

(HealthDay)—Current and former smokers are at risk for a lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis, but many aren't aware of the threat, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation says.

Pediatrics

Diagnosing the cause of exercise-induced respiratory symptoms

Exercise-induced respiratory symptoms are common in childhood, and it can be difficult to diagnose their cause. A study published in Pediatric Pulmonology found that the diagnoses proposed by primary care physicians are often ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

The good cough and the bad cough

Researchers might be able to treat a troublesome cough in disease without disrupting the protective cough we need for optimal lung health, by targeting the different brain circuits involved. That's according to new research ...

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Cough

A cough ( pronunciation (help·info) Latin: tussis) is a sudden and often repetitively occurring reflex which helps to clear the large breathing passages from secretions, irritants, foreign particles and microbes. The cough reflex consists of three phases: an inhalation, a forced exhalation against a closed glottis, and a violent release of air from the lungs following opening of the glottis, usually accompanied by a distinctive sound. Coughing can happen voluntarily as well as involuntarily.

Frequent coughing usually indicates the presence of a disease. Many viruses and bacteria benefit evolutionarily by causing the host to cough, which helps to spread the disease to new hosts. Most of the time, coughing is caused by a respiratory tract infection but can be triggered by choking, smoking, air pollution, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, post-nasal drip, chronic bronchitis, lung tumors, heart failure and medications such as ACE inhibitors.

Treatment should target the cause; for example, smoking cessation or discontinuing ACE inhibitors. Some people may be worried about serious illnesses, and reassurance may suffice. Cough suppressants such as codeine or dextromethorphan are frequently prescribed, but have been demonstrated to have little effect.[citation needed] Other treatment options may target airway inflammation or may promote mucus expectoration. As it is a natural protective reflex, suppressing the cough reflex might have damaging effects, especially if the cough is productive.

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