Hillary Clinton has been struck by coughing attacks, leading to a resurfacing of speculation about her health. She has blamed the cough on allergies, but there are many reasons for coughing spells.
Coughing can be a symptom or various ailments, including asthma, sinus problems, acid reflux, chronic bronchitis and more. Only her personal physician would know for sure.
Smoking is the top reason for chronic cough. In non-smokers, these other conditions can cause coughing:
- Asthma: Asthma is the second most common reason for chronic cough. Nearly 19 million Americans have asthma, the American Lung Association says. Asthma can also cause shortness of breath and wheezing, but sometimes cough is the only symptom.
- Allergies: Allergies are a reaction of the immune system, which can cause symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and a runny nose and coughing. Many people with asthma suffer allergies, but allergies can occur alone, and can be triggered by indoor, like mold, or outdoor irritants, such as pollen. Allergies and asthma can often occur together.
- Acid Reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, wheezing and shortness of breath. Irritation caused by these symptoms can result in cough.
- Sinus problems: Sinus infections can cause post-nasal drip, (sometimes called “a tickle in the back of the throat”), which can trigger a chronic cough.
- Bronchitis: Inflammation (swelling) of the lung’s airways can cause shortness of breath and wheezing, which can result in coughing.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary Disease: This is a progressive condition that is usually the result of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a disease that damages the lung’s air sacs. This condition is usually seen in smokers.
- Upper respiratory infections: Recurrent colds, the flu, pneumonia or other infections can lead to the development of chronic cough.
- High blood pressure drugs: ACE inhibitors, a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure, can produce a characteristic, chronic cough.
- Parkinson's Disease: Parkinson's disease can sometimes cause coughing because people with the condition have difficulty clearing their throat.
Concerns about Hillary Clinton's health are "serious—could be disqualifying for the position of President of the U.S.," say nearly 71 percent of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). About 20 percent said concerns were "likely overblown, but should be addressed as by full release of medical records." Only 2.7 percent responded that they were 'just a political attack: I have confidence in the letter from her physician and see no cause for concern."
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