Dr. Sachin Lavania from North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists answers a reader’s question about having a chronic cough.
Q: I don’t smoke, but I’ve had a cough for several weeks now. What could be the cause?
A: In non-smokers, three main diseases are usually responsible for a chronic cough. The first is asthma, which can start in childhood or adulthood. Asthma can be associated with allergy, exercise, non-allergy, or just manifest as a cough with no other associated symptoms. The second cause is postnasal drainage, which irritates the lining of the upper and lower airways and results in sore throat and cough. The final possible cause is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn. GERD occurs when stomach contents travel upward into the esophagus and irritate the nerves of the esophagus that can trigger the cough reflex.
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