What’s Causing My Chronic Cough?

Monday, 10 Jun 2013 06:07 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: I have had a chronic cough from moderate-to-severe asthma since 1996. It has gotten worse over the years. I have also been on medication for GERD and nasal drip for years with very little relief. What can I do?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
Well, you either have asthma or you do not. Clearly GERD treatment for you is not the only solution. Seek a pulmonary consultation or have your doctor follow the guidelines for asthma treatment that are recommended by the National Institutes of Health.
 
If you are not responding, the diagnosis is in error, and further evaluation is recommended.

Perhaps you have COPD from past smoking or a congenital enzyme deficiency that needs specific treatment. Even the best medication does not reverse the serious damage to airway health that cigarette exposure and the eventual COPD suffering that so many have to deal with.
 
Be sure your asthma regimen includes a leukotriene blocker (Singulair), inhaled corticosteroid (Advair, Flovent), and a rescue inhaler (Xopenex, albuterol). Measure improvements with a peak flow meter and be sure to allow long enough to see effects (typically three months).
 
I have seen many asthmatics, and have yet to find anyone we have not been able to manage to their satisfaction.

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