COPD: why am I coughing? – Featured

2023-05-04 10:36:29

04 May 2023

One of the main symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic cough. Why do patients suffering from this disease cough recurrently? What happens to their lungs?

“Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a common lung disease that reduces airflow and causes breathing problems,” defines the World Health Organization (WHO). Also Called emphysema or chronic bronchitis, COPD is manifested by various symptoms, the main one being a cough, with morning expectoration, that is to say sputum, of the smoker’s cough type. First intermittent, this cough becomes more and more frequent until it is persistent and chronic.

Where is this cough coming from?

In COPD, the airways are narrowed or blocked, and parts of the lungs may even be destroyed due to tobacco exposure in most cases. But also from occupational exposure to dust, fumes or chemicals and also to indoor air pollution.

In these conditions, “diseased bronchi produce more mucus than healthy bronchi” explains the Swiss Lung League. More precisely, “The inhalation of harmful substances over many years paralyzes or destroys the vibrating cilia of the airways, so that they can no longer carry mucus out of the lungs. » Result, “viscous mucus must be expectorated by coughing”.

To note : There is no cure for COPD. Medicines, oxygen and pulmonary rehabilitation aim to relieve symptoms, such as cough, but also shortness of breath and chronic fatigue.

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