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How does COPD cause a productive cough?

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You might make more mucus than normal when you have COPD. Your airways and air sacs can also stop working the right way. That's because they get hurt or inflamed.

Smoking cigarettes is the most common cause. But it can happen because of air pollution, asthma, or your genes. You may hear COPD called emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

Other than a "smoker's cough," there are other signs to watch for:

Treatment can help ease your symptoms. But there's no cure for COPD. If you smoke, quit. You may also need to take medicine to help you breathe. Lifestyle changes might help, as well. Talk with your doctor if you think you may have COPD.

  • It's easy to run out of breath.
  • Doing something active makes you winded.
  • Your lungs whistle or squeak.
  • Your symptoms get worse with time.

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publishing: “Cracking the cough code,” “Treatments for post-nasal drip.” 

Cleveland Clinic: “How Doctors Crack the Code for Your Chronic Cough,” “Postnasal Drip, Can It Make Your Queasy?”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Cough,” “Pneumonia,” “COPD,” “Cystic Fibrosis,” “Bronchiectasis.”

CDC: “CDC Features: Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others,” “Influenza (Flu): Treatment; Who Needs a Flu Vaccine & When,” “Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Offices: Chest Cold (Acute Bronchitis),” “Pneumonia: Vaccines help Prevent Pneumonia.”

American Lung Association: “Pneumonia Symptoms and Diagnosis.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: “What Is Post-Nasal Drip?”

International Journal of Otolaryngology : “Chronic Cough, Reflux, Postnasal Drip Syndrome, and the Otolaryngologist.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on April 17, 2020

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publishing: “Cracking the cough code,” “Treatments for post-nasal drip.” 

Cleveland Clinic: “How Doctors Crack the Code for Your Chronic Cough,” “Postnasal Drip, Can It Make Your Queasy?”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Cough,” “Pneumonia,” “COPD,” “Cystic Fibrosis,” “Bronchiectasis.”

CDC: “CDC Features: Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others,” “Influenza (Flu): Treatment; Who Needs a Flu Vaccine & When,” “Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Offices: Chest Cold (Acute Bronchitis),” “Pneumonia: Vaccines help Prevent Pneumonia.”

American Lung Association: “Pneumonia Symptoms and Diagnosis.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: “What Is Post-Nasal Drip?”

International Journal of Otolaryngology : “Chronic Cough, Reflux, Postnasal Drip Syndrome, and the Otolaryngologist.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on April 17, 2020

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How can bronchiectasis cause a productive cough?

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