How a Chronic Cough Affects Quality of Life

Chronic coughing is an affliction that many people face, but whose effects on the life of the patient are all-too-often overlooked. Recently a study was performed to determine the degree to which physical and psychological quality of life was affected by patients with this ailment. Secondarily, the study looked at whether eliminating the cough could improve the patient’s life. Here is a look at how, according to this study, chronic cough affects a patient’s quality of life.


Coughing is an important physical defense mechanism. It helps to clear the body of foreign material caught in the airways and get rid of excess secretions from sinus drainage or other illnesses. It is also the symptom with the most commonly-sought relief. Cough medicines are almost an industry unto themselves.

This problem can be caused by any number of disorders or illness, including:

Each of these illnesses carries its own difficulties and treatment methods. Depending on the nature of the cough and the associated illness, coughing can be uncomfortable, inconvenient or even painful.

Study Methods

The study was designed as an intervention trial with before and after stages. Patients served as their own control: Each participant in the research was given a sample of 39 adult patients who were referred to them for management of chronic cough. Baseline data was provided concerning patients’ Adverse Cough Outcome Survey (ACOS) and Sickness Impact Profile (SIP). Patient care was managed according to a strictly regulated protocol to ensure equal treatment across the board. After therapy was administered, the SIP and ACOS tools were re-applied and re-assessed.

Study Results

The overall results held up to other similar studies in this area. Patients reported an average of between 8 and 12 incidents of problems related directly to their cough. When ACOS, SIP and psychosocial scores were compared with the symptoms, and then looked at next to complaints following treatment that eliminated the cough, it was determined that chronic coughing does indeed affect a patient’s quality of life. The largest factor was the psychosocial element.


The specific impacts of coughing on the life of patients were broad and varied. Some reported issues with moving and walking, or that coughing interfered with their ability to get around. Others reported problems with recreation, social interaction and work. Still others reported problems included body care, communication, alertness, emotional problems, eating and even home management.

In such cases, coughing not only interferes with activity, but also creates something of a shunning situation socially. Others perceive the cougher as ill and avoid contact so as not to catch the sickness. This makes social interaction much more difficult. Still others reported issues with sleeping due to cough, which leads to problems with focus, exhaustion and mood during the day.

If you are suffering from chronic cough and would like to get rid of it, we can help. Read a bit more about the conditions that can cause coughing, and then give us a call for more information or to schedule an appointment today.

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