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Have dry irritating cough. Heavy smoker. Cannot sleep and struggle to breath. Worried about cancer?

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Hello, i have a dry irritating cough that leads to a coughing fit. Been consistant for about a week now. Discomfort appears to be coming from inside throat about 3INCHES BELOW XXXXXXX XXXXXXX I am a heavy smoker. Symptoms are worse at night aspecialy when layin down. I have stopped coughing up phlem but condition is worsening and i am only getting about 1HRS SLEEP TWICE a day. Worried it could be cancer. I zm 34 years old. When i have coughing fit i struggle for breath like my lungs are siezing up and i get a headache
Posted Sat, 22 Jun 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 2 hours later

Thanks for your query.

There are many causes of a persistent cough but from the information you have given, I have a couple of suggestions.

As you mention that your cough is worse at night, it could possibly be related to acid reflux. This is when acid from your stomach passes up your oesophagus or food pipe to your throat due to a faulty valve at the bottom of the food pipe. This acid can be very irritating and can cause coughing episodes particularly when you are lying down and even when you are asleep and you may wake up coughing. With this condition there would possibly be an acid taste in the mouth. This is a relatively common condition and easily treatable with medication.

The location of the irritation could indicate its related to your thyroid gland which is placed just below the XXXXXXX XXXXXXX Sometimes, if this is enlarged, it can cause coughing when lying down due the effect of it pressing on the windpipe causing irritation. This is an uncommon condition but can be diagnosed with scans.

I would suggest you visit your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Your doctor may wish to do some further tests.

I hope this information has been of help to you.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Dr K A Pottinger
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