Cough Variant Asthma

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Cough Variant Asthma

Post  mrsamct on Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:49 am

Sprachschule Hamburg
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Cough variant asthma is a type of asthma, characterized by chronic and dry or non-productive cough. Unlike asthma, cough variant asthma is usually not accompanied by any symptom, other than the dry and non-productive cough, that can last from 6 to 8 weeks. The typical symptoms of asthma like, wheezing and shortness of breath are usually not observed in the patients of cough variant asthma. The wheezing sound is actually produced when the airways constrict during an asthma attack. But, cough variant asthma may not cause constriction of the airways and hence, it does not necessarily cause wheezing and shortness of breath. However, this type of asthma can cause inflammation and swelling of the airways.

Causes of Cough Variant asthma

The exact causes of cough variant asthma are not known properly, though the same allergens associated with asthma such as, dust and pollen can also trigger an attack of chronic cough. Even breathing in cold air can too, trigger such an attack. Another important factor can be beta blockers, that are used for treating a number of health conditions including, high blood pressure and heart disease. Apart from these, some other important causes are, post nasal drip, sinusitis, acid reflux disease and the habit of smoking. Many times, chronic cough has also been observed to follow an infection of the upper respiratory tract.

Cough Variant Asthma Symptoms

The non-productive or persistent dry cough is the classic and many a times, the only symptom of cough variant asthma in children and . As has been mentioned already, this type of asthma may not present the typical asthma symptoms like, shortness of breath, and the wheezing sound while breathing. But, the dry cough can worsen, particularly during the night and while exercising.

Cough Variant Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of cough variant asthma is a bit difficult. Even X-ray and tests like spirometry or lung function test can show normal results for chronic cough, because of the absence of any blockage of the airways. So, if the results of such test are normal, physicians carry out another test, known as 'positive methacholine inhalation challenge' (MIC) test. In this test, the patient is allowed to inhale methacholine, which causes spasms and narrowing of the airways, in case the patient has asthma. However, even when methacholine inhalation challenge (MIC) test is positive, it cannot be definitely concluded that the person has cough variant asthma. The condition is confirmed only when the symptoms responds to usual asthma therapy or treatment.

Cough variant asthma is treated with the same medications that are normally used for asthma. Bronchodilators like, albuterol and ipratropium are more commonly used for treating the condition. In addition to bronchodilators, inhaled steroids are also used for cough variant asthma treatment. It may take several days for the symptoms to improve or resolve completely. However, occasionally, the cough can worsen in some individuals after using inhaled steroids. Therefore, it is very important to take medications under the guidance of a physician.

Recognizing cough variant asthma is a bit difficult, due to the absence of the usual asthma symptoms. So, if cough lasts for more than 6 to 8 weeks, one should talk to his or her physician, in order to find out and address the underlying causes. Along with the treatment, avoiding the specific allergens like, dust, pollen and even cold air is also essential to reduce the frequency and severity of this type of cough variant asthma.

mrsamct

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