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Articles on Coughing

Coughing often occurs under conditions of good health to remove the mucus and foreign material that have accumulated in the upper air passages.  Thus normal coughing supplements the action of the cilia (the "built-in-broom") of the air passages.


Coughing occurs when there is an irritation of the lining of the trachea, or bronchial tubes (air passages in the lungs), as from bleeding, infection, or inhaled foreign material.  It can also occur when there is pressure or tugging on the trachea or related organs and irritation of the pleura (the membrane lining the cavities in which the lungs are situated).  Lastly, coughing can occurs when there is stagnation of blood within the lungs with seepage of fluids into the air spaces.  Coughing in connection with choking occurs when fluid, food, or some foreign object finds its way into the air passages.  It occurs when there is local irritation from inhalation of smoke or irritating gases.  This explains the cigarette smoker's cough.  Coughing also occurs when there is local inflammation (usually with infection) of the air passages as in laryngitis, tracheitis and bronchitis.  It accompanies the common cold, influenza and asthma.


Coughing is usually a prominent symptom of diseases involving the lungs, including pneumonia, pulmonary tuberculosis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, fungal infections of the lung, parasitic diseases of the lung and lung abscess.  Cough also occurs in cancer of the lung, of the pleura, or of the mediastinum.  Bronchiogenic carcinoma (the kind of lung cancer associated with cigarette smoking) usually becomes well-established before it produces symptoms.  Among its important early symptoms, when they do occur, are cough and the spitting of blood.  Heart failure can cause coughing.  When the left side of the heart becomes unable to propel the blood at its normal rate and pressure, the blood tends to stagnate in the lung tissues.  The fluid portion of the blood then seeps into the tiny air spaces of the lungs and interferes with the normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.  Coughing then occurs as a means of clearing out the air spaces.  Sometimes an aneurysm of the thoracic aorta (enlargement of the body's largest artery) causes coughing by producing pressure against the trachea.


  1. Persistent Coughs in Children

  2. Types of Cough




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