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What causes persistent cough, shortness of breath and heartburn?

Answered by
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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16681 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 7 Jun 2016 in Lung and Chest disorders
Question: I have had a persistent cough, but no fever or other ailments that typically come with a cough. I finished a Z pack and there is no improvement. In addition, I have had a shortness of breath over the past 3 weeks. I get light-headed occasionally. Over the last two days I have had what appears to be heartburn, but does not respond to Zantac or Gas X. It is pretty consistent without relief. My best friend is a veterinarian and she suggested possible heart problems. I am 50 years old and my father (congestive heart failure and aortic aneurism), mother (3 heart attacks), and sister (internal defibulator) have had issues with their heart. My friend has me questioning my situation...Thoughts are appreciated!
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
heart disease is a possibility

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

It is possible that it may be heart disease especially if you have other risks factors in addition to the strong family history eg history of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, overweight or obese, inactivity.
Heart disease typically causes coughing as a result of fluid build up in the lungs.

Post nasal drip is the most common reason for persistent cough but it is normally not accompanied by shortness of breath.

You would need to consider a visit to your doctor.
He or she would need to take a full history of your symptoms and take a listen to your chest , this is to detect any abnormal heart or lung sounds (fluid can be detected if present in significant quantities)

Investigations such as chest x ray and ECG may be needed as well.
The xray would give an indication of the size of the heart and would also demonstrate fluid in the lung

The ECG would take a look at the heart rate, rhythm and also give an indication of enlargement or areas with reduced blood supply

Depending on the findings, additional tests may be needed eg echo.

Treatment would depend on the results of the examination and investigations

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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