Cough variant asthma is a type of asthma in which dry coughing is the most predominant and may even be the only symptom. This cough is non-productive, which means that it does not produce any mucus and it usually lasts several days at a time. The cough is easily triggered or worsened by different asthma trigger factors, like:
- Vigorous exercise
- Allergens or irritants, such as cold air, dust, strong smells, smoke
- Respiratory infections (such as sinusitis, which is an inflammation of sinuses)
- Beta-blockers, which are medication used to treat different heart problems, migraines and other conditions; and can be found in some eye drops (prescribed for glaucoma)
Cough variant asthma is a common type of childhood asthma and in time it may bring other asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath and wheezing. This type of asthma may be difficult to diagnose, seeing that coughing is the only sign. A few tests could be used, including spirometry (measuring the amount of air that goes in and out of the lungs with a spirometer), and a methacholine challenge test (if spirometry was inconclusive, used to demonstrate bronchial hyper responsiveness). Treatment may be another way to make sure that cough variant asthma is the type of asthma present.
Cough variant asthma treatment
Treatment for cough variant asthma is not much different from other asthma type treatments. Treatment may consist of:
- Inhalers (or bronchodialators) such as Albuterol, for daily use
- Anti-inflammatory therapy: Corticosteroids in inhalers or if the condition doesn’t improve, oral steroids may also be prescribed (oral prednisone or Zafirlukast in some cases)
Cough variant asthma may be improved greatly with these treatments, the changes can be seen anywhere from one to eight weeks. If the treatment wasn’t successful, it may be the case of a different disease, such as sinusitis (inflammation of sinuses), gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD, a type of digestive disorder), considering the similar symptoms. Proper diagnosis of this type of asthma is very important, as it may lead to a development of classic asthma. Wheezing in cough variant asthma may be present, but it usually isn’t as audible as in classic asthma cases.