7 types of coughs
Other telltale symptoms: The cough gets worse at night or while exercising; chest tightness; shortness of breath; fatigue
Diagnosis and Rx: To check for asthma, your doctor will most likely order spirometry, a lung function test, he says.
To treat it, there are two types of medications: quick-relief drugs (bronchodilators like albuterol, which make it easier to breathe) and drugs you take daily to keep asthma under control, such as leukotriene modifiers (like Singulair).
A dry, spasmodic cough. Short for gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD is when acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus. It’s actually the second most common cause of chronic cough, causing about 40% of cases, according to a 2006 review published in Nature.
Other telltale symptoms: Your cough gets worse when you’re lying down or eating. “The classic sign is coughing that starts as soon as you lie down in bed at night,” says Dr. Parsons.
About 75% of GERD patients with chronic cough have no other symptoms, but if you do they can include heartburn and hoarseness.
Diagnosis and Rx: Tests may include an x-ray of your upper GI tract and/or an endoscopy (where your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube down your throat to examine it).