Is it Bronchitis or Chronic Cough?

Cough is the most frequent illness-related reason people visit their doctor.  Bronchitis is one of the main reasons why people cough.    But in most people with Chronic Cough, it is not the cause.  Most people suffering with Chronic Cough have a cough mechanism that is overly sensitive, also known as hypersensitive, making them hard-wired to cough.  Irritants trigger a hypersensitive cough mechanism to  produce cough that won’t go away.

Bronchitis refers to inflammation of the bronchial tubes.  According to Medscape, the most common signs and symptoms are cough and mucus that last for three weeks or less.   Other symptoms can include: sore throat, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.   Chronic Bronchitis is defined as cough with sputum expectoration for at least 3 months a year during a period of 2 consecutive years.  Infectious agents, such as viruses or bacteria, and noninfectious agents, such as smoking, dust, or chemical pollutants, can be bronchitis triggers.  A flu vaccine can help reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections and subsequently, reduce the risk of developing acute bacterial bronchitis.

Do these signs and symptoms sound familiar?  While a Bronchitis diagnosis should be considered, other conditions such as Allergies, Asthma, Sinusitis, and Pneumonia often present a similar clinical picture.  In fact, Asthma can be mistakenly diagnosed as Acute Bronchitis.  In one study, one third of patients who had recurrent bouts of acute bronchitis were eventually identified as having asthma. Generally, bronchitis is a diagnosis made by exclusion of other conditions. 

Nagging, constant cough should not be ignored.  If you have already seen a physician for your cough and are still coughing or if you have been coughing for eight weeks or longer, make an appointment to see Dr. Mandel Sher at Center for Cough: 727-393-8067.