Cough is a complex reflex event that protects the lungs against mechanical, chemical, and thermal factors and is one of the defense mechanisms of the respiratory system. Its purpose is to prevent foreign substances from entering the airways and ensure that they and the secretions in the airways are expelled. The cough reflex can be voluntary, or it can sometimes occur involuntarily. There are cough cells (receptors) in sensitive areas that cause coughing to occur. They are most commonly found in the larynx, main trachea, and large bronchi. Still, cough cells (receptors) are found in the nose, sinuses, pharynx, eardrum, external auditory canal, pericardium, and stomach. There is also a cough center in our brain near the respiratory center. Cough cells (receptors) activate this center thanks to the signals coming through the nerves, and as a result, the necessary warnings are sent to the structures that will cause the cough, again via the nerves.
In the first period, a deep breath is taken.
In the second period, the larynx closes, and the respiratory muscles contract against this closed larynx. During this period, which lasts for 200 milliseconds, the pressures in the lungs increase rapidly.
In the third period, the larynx suddenly opens, and the compressed air is violently expelled due to the significant pressure difference between the lungs and the outside atmosphere. The secretions and foreign substances accumulated in the respiratory tract are thrown out thanks to these rapid currents. At this time, the known 'coughing sound' is heard with the vibration of the secretions in the airways, bronchial walls, and neighboring tissues.
Acute cough generally occurs due to short-term and periodic diseases. When the disease is treated, the cough goes away after a while. However, on the contrary, chronic cough is a long-lasting type of cough and can be accompanied by a severe illness.
Cough can occur not only with lung diseases but also with other organ diseases. The respiratory system extends from the nose to the lungs. Therefore, a problem in the nose also concerns the respiratory system. Problems in the nose, foreign matter in the nose, runny nose, nasal congestion, problems with the sinuses, all problems in the throat or mouth; The onset of many problems such as pharyngitis, flu, tonsillitis, colds can be encountered with cough. Today, pneumonia ranks first among all infectious causes of death. And only with a cough can patients come to the doctor. Apart from these, there is a disease that we call bronchitis, caused by the enlargement of the airways, in which coughing can quickly occur. COPD, the 4th most common cause of death globally, is one of the most common causes of cough, mainly due to smoking. Apart from this, asthma is also one of the causes of coughing.
This is called reflux in the esophagus problems and inflammations, especially the backward escaping of stomach contents. Reflux is also one of the causes of cough.
Heart failure is one of the most important causes of cough. Sometimes no cause can be found. This is what we call a habit-induced cough.
Lung cancer can be seen most frequently in patients who present with cough. Therefore, a much more detailed examination should be done in people who come with a cough. Apart from this, any tumor that may occur in the airways, inflammation, pneumonia such as chronic bronchitis is a microbial disease of the lungs. Today, pneumonia ranks first among all infectious causes of death. And only with the symptom of cough can people consult a doctor. Apart from these, cough can be seen as a symptom of the disease that occurs with the expansion of bronchitis.
Cough can be the only symptom of the disease known as tuberculosis.
Dry cough generally does not contain sputum, but it causes severe irritation of the throat. Cough; It is seen together with diseases such as flu, pharyngitis, asthma, reflux, cold, heart failure, and tuberculosis. A dry cough that does not go away for a long time can cause pain in the lungs and even muscle aches. If you have a dry cough that does not go away and some of the following symptoms, be sure to see a doctor.
A liquid called sputum may accompany the cough. Sputum can be caused by most smoking sinusitis and bronchitis. Contrary to popular belief, cough with phlegm, generally seen in smokers, is not normal. This cough, which can become a chronic disease, can also be a bronchiectasis disease known as cigarette cough.
Cough is seen periodically in allergic bodies, especially in the respiratory tract. In allergy-related coughs, allergy tests must be done to find out which allergen is causing this problem. After the type of allergen is determined, preventive drugs and allergy treatment should be started to prevent cough.
If a disease in the person causes cough complaints, medical treatments are applied to relieve cough. For coughs that can last up to 3 weeks, a pulmonologist should be consulted. Therapy can be used to widen the bronchi in the complaint of cough in infectious diseases. If deemed appropriate by the doctor, a chest x-ray and pulmonary function test may also be done.
Cough is not a condition that should be taken seriously and can resolve on its own. It can be the most important symptom of a severe illness of the person. For this reason, the cough should be taken seriously in the cases listed below. These are;
After the diagnosis of the cause of the cough, treatment should be started. If the cause of the cough is a viral (infection) cause, some preventive measures can be taken and the treatment. These are;
Although cough is a protective reflex, it is one of the most common symptoms of respiratory diseases in children. If the cough lasts less than 15 days, it is called acute cough, if it lasts longer than 15 days, it is called long-lasting cough, and if it lasts longer than 1 month, it is called chronic cough. A cough in children can be a simple cold or a symptom of a severe illness. Cough due to viruses, namely flu, is very common in children, especially those who go to kindergarten. These coughs usually last up to 10 days.
Cough is a common complaint in children. Since cough is a symptom, not a disease, giving cough suppressants without determining the cause is incorrect. Its use in herbal medicines is also not recommended. It is necessary to diagnose the disease that causes cough and make the proper treatment.
The croup should be considered if a sudden onset of barking cough, hoarseness, and difficulty in breathing develops, and a doctor should be seen urgently. Because sometimes, shortness of breath can be life-threatening.