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Cough variant asthma, or CVA for short, is a less common form of asthma that is characterized by the fact that its only symptom is a chronic cough. People who have CVA do not generally have the other common symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. CVA is an especially common diagnosis in young children, and it often progresses into full-blown asthma down the line.
The cough in cough variant asthma is a dry cough that lasts for more than 6 to 8 weeks. It can occur any time of the day, though coughing at night that wakes you up is common with CVA. The cough also often worsens during exercise. Other conditions, such as respiratory infections, can cause a chronic cough, but when the cough lasts longer than a few weeks in the absence of an active infection, doctors will suspect CVA.
Diagnosing cough variant asthma, however, can be difficult. Unlike with regular asthma, people with CVA usually have normal pulmonary function tests, such as ...
Cold weather and itchy skin
Two new studies presented at the 72nd American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting highlighted the sometimes confusing connections between gastroesophageal reflux and seemingly unrelated problems such as severe chest pain and chronic cough. In one experiment, researchers at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston studied patients in emergency rooms who complained of serious chest pain. Researchers found that more women than men in their study were being rushed to the emergency room with chest pain that was not related to the heart. In fact, abnormal reflux of acid that would fit the diagnosis of acid reflux disease was seen in 57 percent of the patients. This study also highlighted the fact that men have more upright reflux, while women experience both reflux during sleep and while they are awake. Chronic cough was also considered at this year's annual gastroenterology meeting. Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina recogni...
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