Do you have a persistent cough that is driving you crazy? There are many reasons why a dry cough is haunting, but some of the reasons may indicate that something more sinister lurks within your body. While you may feel like ignoring this cough is the easiest thing to do, you could be avoiding a serious medical problem, especially if it doesn’t go away.
Twelve Signs Your Dry Cough Is Something More Serious
If you have a cough that does not seem to improve, you should see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Here are some signs that you should call the doctor to see what is going on.
Heartburn alone is a difficult problem to combat. However, did you know that a persistent cough can be a sign of acid reflux or GERD? When the sphincters between the stomach and the esophagus don’t close properly, it can allow stomach acids to escape into the throat area.
The acids burn the esophagus, causing you to cough as you fight to prevent these acids from entering this area. According to the National Institute of Health, GERD is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. The acid can cause a condition called Barret’s esophagus if it is not treated.
Barret’s esophagus is often seen in people who have battled GERD for long periods of time. The intestinal lining enters the esophagus and grows to replace damaged tissues. While having this disease is quite serious, it is often a precursor to cancer.
It is common for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus to form from damage caused by stomach acids that are in places where it should not be. Unfortunately, it is often a deadly cancer. If you always feel like you have something stuck in your throat and have frequent bouts of heartburn, then you need to address this issue.
2. There is heaviness in your chest
Many things can make your chest feel heavy and you may feel like you are having a heart attack. For example, acid that shoots up in this area can cause a burning sensation and heaviness.
While things from gas to pulling muscle can cause uncomfortable sensations in your chest area, you have that feeling at any time. It must be evaluated. Your dry cough may mean that your the heart or lungs are not working properly, which can be a serious problem that needs immediate assistance.
3. You have trouble breathing
Every time you are short of breath or have trouble breathing, it is always a sign that something is happening. You could have a common cold, an allergy, or heart and lung problems. If the problem comes and goes along with the cough, then it is an ongoing problem indicating an underlying problem.
An article from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute points out that coughing is a main symptom of asthma. Common triggers include cold air, strong smells, and exercise.
You may experience wheezing, choking, or gasping to catch your breath. Make sure you don’t postpone emergency help if you can’t breathe properly.
4. You feel dizzy
Do you usually experience a feeling of dizziness or is it something new? When you cough, do you feel this? feeling dizzy, or is it at other times? Lightheadedness accompanied by a persistent cough can indicate a loss of oxygen in the body, which can signify a heart or lung problem.
If it happens once, you are more likely to miss it, but if it keeps happening, see a medical provider. If your oxygen levels are not where they should be, then you may pass out.
5. You can’t stop coughing
There is nothing worse than coughing without being able to stop. This is common with croup or other viral infections that lead to this hacking. However, if this keeps happening over and over again, it may indicate a serious underlying problem.
You may suspect a condition such as bronchitis when you can’t stop coughing, but bronchitis usually produces mucus, and the cough associated with it is not dry in nature. If you have frequent coughing spells, have it checked.
6. Cannot speak or carry on a conversation without coughing
Are you having a hard time holding a conversation because all you do is cough and struggle to breathe? Chronic cough it may be a sign of allergy. Don’t just pass it off as allergies though, it can be 100 other things too. Try not to self-diagnose when it comes to these problems, as the internet only works in general.
If you cough so much that it becomes difficult to even talk to a friend or family member, then something is seriously wrong. Chronic lung conditions like emphysema and COPD can cause problems of this nature. Also, your oxygen levels may be dropping too low and you are probably struggling to catch your breath.
7. You cough so hard you notice blood
Some coughs are productive, while others tend to be a persistent nuisance. Regardless of what you are facing, one thing that is always cause for alarm is when you see blood after coughing. Blood is a sign that something is irritated in your respiratory system.
Coughing up blood can be a sign of cancer, lung disease, or that you’ve coughed so hard that your blood vessels have ruptured. Every time you cough and see blood, it is considered an emergency.
8. Dry cough is seasonally based
Some annoying coughs appear in the spring and fall seasons, when allergies are at their worst. Do you notice that you cough more when the lawn is mowed or when you are around fresh flowers?
Your dry, hacking cough can be an irritation to your respiratory tract. While it is annoying, it is not necessarily dangerous. Many herbal remedies can help you fight seasonal allergies with ease.
9. Pink foam on your mucus
Another strange sign that something is wrong is when you cough and pink foam appears in your mouth. One contributor to this is a vagal reflex. This reflex is present when the heart does not pump enough, which means that it is lacking oxygen.
The vagal reflex that causes a dry cough can also be triggered by heart failure. Pink foam or a pink tint in anything you expel should be treated as an emergency. You may notice chest heaviness and shortness of breath along with this symptom.
Do not delay in getting it because, according to the National Institute of Health, the vagal reflex can lead to a heart attack or reflex bradycardia.
10. Feel like you have something down your throat
Coughing is a natural reaction of the body to clear the throat area. It is not uncommon for people to inhale something into the windpipe that prevents air flow. Now your airflow can slow down but not stop, so you need to be careful.
If something like a piece of potato chips gets stuck in your throat, it can irritate or cut the area. You can cough and hack trying to remove this section of food that is lodged in your esophagus. Even after expelling food, the irritation can last, especially if it damaged the tissue.
Now, another reason you may feel that feeling comes from a condition called atypical pneumonia.
Unlike traditional pneumonia, atypical pneumonia does not produce mucus or phlegm. With regular pneumonia, coughing is very productive as the body is trying to clear the infection from the lungs. You may still have pneumonia and a dry, unproductive cough, which means any chronic cough problems should be taken seriously.
11. The throat hurts with a dry cough
Does your throat hurt when you cough? Feel like it’s dry and rough, and it burns with every drink you take? A couple of things may be happening here. First, you may have a bacterial or viral infection that is causing this problem.
Second, you may experience seasonal allergies. Postnasal drip can go down the back of the throat and irritate the lining. A natural reflex can cause you to cough, as the throat is rough and raw, and the body feels like it has something stuck.
12. Has fever and pain all over
Is your dry cough accompanied by fever, pain, and chills all over your body? You may have the flu. While the flu is sometimes accompanied by an upper respiratory condition, many times it is not. Your coughing and hacking can be caused by the widespread illness that your body is trying to counteract.
Also, there are many viruses that can cause a dry cough. Tuberculosis is a serious lung condition that can cause death. It is not as common these days as before, but it is still a concern in underdeveloped countries. Lastly, you may have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
When you have a chronic, unproductive cough, you may be concerned if it persists for more than a couple of weeks. A pulmonologist should be consulted for any such incident, especially if Smoking cigarettes or have previously. The common cold almost always produces mucus and phlegm, but when the cough is dry, it is an entirely different ball game.