Are you ignoring a health warning when you cough?

coughBy Alexia Jones -

There are some ailments that we have all the time and do nothing about as we don’t consider them to be serious enough to bother the doctor with. However, by ignoring certain symptoms we could be masking a much more serious health condition.

One such example is a persistent cough. Coughs are something that can become a bit of a habit. Following a virus or cold, you may develop a lingering cough that doesn’t seem to get any better. Although annoying at first, it sometimes just one of those things and you end up just putting up with it.

This could be a big mistake however, as it might be a symptom of an underlying condition that could require medical treatment. Many people with undiagnosed asthma have a persistent cough due to the amount of mucus on their chest and in their airways. Often, if this is the reason for a chronic cough, the cough will become worse in cold weather or following physical exercise. The cough is often more noticeable on waking in the morning as lying down all night allows the mucus to pool in the airways. An asthma coughing bout can be very difficult to stop and can be accompanied by wheezing and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Up to 10% of people suffering from asthma haven’t had it diagnosed. Check with your doctor to make sure you aren’t one of them.

Another reason for a chronic cough may be that you are suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). This is a common condition for smokers or former smokers in their forties and fifties. However, it can also affect people who are exposed to pollution or have a family history of the disease. COPD covers a spectrum of different lung conditions including bronchitis and emphysema. The cough that goes with COPD is usually very phlegmy and wheezy and some people mistake the symptoms for asthma. Sufferers from COPD can have physiotherapy to ease their symptoms and should do regular exercise to improve their lung capacity. There is medication available that will help reduce the constriction of the airways and home remedies such as steam inhalation can be helpful.

If you have a persistent cough that sometimes results in blood being present in your mucus, this is something you should have checked out immediately by a medical professional, as it can be one of the symptoms associated with lung cancer. As well as the cough, you may have sharp pains around the lung area when you breathe deeply and loss of appetite and weight is also something to watch for. Often, lung cancer symptoms are mistakenly ignored as those connected to a chest infection.

During those times that you are struggling with a mucus cough, you should drink plenty of fluids in order to help thin the mucus and make it easier to expel. A cough that lasts longer than eight weeks is worth a trip to the doctor. Even if it turns out to be nothing more sinister than a normal cough, it is a good idea to be checked over by a medical professional.

Bio: Alexia is a freelance health and lifestyle writer and has personal experience of how worthwhile a trip to the doctor can be. A close family member was diagnosed with lung cancer, even though he thought he was only suffering from a chest infection. Since that experience she always encourages others not to fear ‘wasting the doctor’s time’.

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