There are many causes of cough. In most cases, patients with a cough experience it for a short time before it resolves. In other persons the cough may linger for months or even years.

Cough may be caused by lung disease, abnormalities of the throat and nose, or heart problems.

Some of the more common causes of cough include:
- acute and chronic bronchitis
- asthma
- reflux
- postnasal drip
- medications (especially ACE inhibitor drugs used for hypertension)

Serious disease may present with cough. Such persons may have:
- lung cancer
- heart failure
- infection
- other problems

Since a prolonged cough may be a sign of serious disease, it should be taken seriously. Testing such as chest x-ray, pulmonary function test, heart disease testing or even bronchoscopy may be required for diagnosis.

Patients who have a cough for more than a few days should visit their primary care physician. For those individuals affected by chronic cough, consultation with a pulmonologist may be helpful.


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© 2015 The Center for Respiratory and Sleep Disorders