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cough, sudden, forceful expiration of air from the lungs caused by an involuntary contraction of the muscles controlling the process of breathing. The cough is a response to some irritating condition such as inflammation or the presence of mucus (sputum) in the respiratory tract, as in infectious disease, or to heavy dust or industrial or tobacco smoke. Coughing may also be a reflex action to factors outside the respiratory tract; diseases that are not respiratory in nature (e.g., congestive heart failure or mitral valve disease) often bring on coughing. If there is mucus or a foreign substance in the respiratory tract, the cough should not be hindered since by this action the offending matter is expelled from the body. If, however, the cough becomes exhausting, sedation is indicated.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a reflex act usually occurring as a result of the irritation of the mucous membrane in the respiratory tract during an inflammatory process caused by pathological products (for example, sputum) or foreign bodies. A cough is one of the principal indications of disease in the respiratory organs (larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs). The cough center in the brain can sometimes be stimulated without irritation of the respiratory tracts. This is the so-called nervous cough that occurs in cases of fear and embarrassment. A distinction is made between a dry cough (without the formation and secretion of sputum) and a wet cough (with sputum).

The cough stimulus begins by deep inhalation, followed by a tensing of the bronchial and all the respiratory muscles resulting in forced expulsion. In so doing, the rima glottidis is closed, and intrathoracic pressure rises sharply. With the opening of the rima glottidis, the air bursts forth from the respiratory tract, carrying with it the sputum that has accumulated in the bronchi and pulmonary alveoli, dust particles, and so forth. Thus, a cough can be beneficial in helping to cleanse the respiratory tract. However, a protracted and severe cough that occurs with infections of the pleura, liver, and some other organs is harmful to the organism, since a systematic elevation of the intrathoracic and intrabronchial pressure leads to the gradual formation of pulmonary emphysema and impedes the flow of blood through the veins to the heart. This can lead to cardiopulmonary insufficiency.

Treatment is directed at the affliction that has caused thecough. With a wet cough, particularly if it is difficult to bring upthe sputum, expectorants are used; with a dry, persistent cough, cough suppressants are administered.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A sudden, violent expulsion of air after deep inspiration and closure of the glottis.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The company believes that a highly selective P2X3 antagonist can reduce coughing in patients with chronic cough, while maintaining taste function, by not inhibiting P2X2/3 receptors.
[PM.sub.10] was also statistically significantly associated with chronic cough (OR =1.04; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.08), chronic phlegm (OR =1.07; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.11), and chronic cough or phlegm (OR = 1.05; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.08); coadjustment for [PM.sub.2.5] did not alter these effect estimates (Table S2).
Chronic cough is common in old people, and the objective monitoring of chronic cough in the daily life helps to improve the quality of life of the aged with chronic cough [69, 70].
When physicians keep a running list of likely diagnoses in mind for chronic cough, the diagnosis of xerotrachea due to pSS is rarely made since the cough may be symptomatic of other more common diseases such as asthma, gastroesophageal reflux or postnasal drip.
And a significantly higher proportion of HIV-positive veterans reported chronic cough and/or phlegm (66% versus 55% without HIV).
With respect to abnormal and obstructive lung patterns, the specificity was found to be> 80% for frequent cough, chronic cough and chronic phlegm, and > 80% negative predictive values for all the respiratory symptoms.
If they have a chronic cough, it may become more frequent and more severe, and their sputum may increase in amount or change in color.
Dietary and lifestyle modification, acid suppression therapy, and prokinetic therapy are recommended in patients with chronic cough due to GERD [8].
Chronic cough was defined as cough lasting for more than 8 weeks in the past year.[sup][8]
Last Tuesday, he underwent a successful surgery for chronic cough at Narayana Health City in Bommasandra.
David Hodgson, Ph.D., from the Nottingham Respiratory Research Unit at the University of Nottingham (England), and his colleagues conducted an 8-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel-group trial with follow-up visits at 4, 8, and 12 weeks to determine whether treatment with low-dose azithromycin would affect the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ) score, cough severity on a visual analog scale, and fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) in patients with treatment-resistant chronic cough (Chest.
The Chronic Cough Enigma is a straightforward, clearly written explanation of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of a medical puzzle that afflicts millions.

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