Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"I am a 37 year old female and in the last month I have had a cough that gets worse when laying down."
I don't have allergies. I began smoking about a year ago, after never touching a cigarette for 36 years of my life. Could this be the cause of cough?
Yes, smoking can definitely be the cause of your cough, and it is definitely in your best interest to quit smoking and all other forms of tobacco. It is the single best thing you can do for your health. Smoking deposits many toxins into your lungs, and then impairs your body's ability to excrete them by damaging the cilia that help to flush them all out. The body's response to the accumulation of toxins and "gunk" is often to cough (which is why we hear the phrase, smoker's cough). Coughing will often get worse for many people (smokers and non-smokers alike) when they lie down, for a variety of reasons. One is that the blood flow redistributes when there is no force of gravity for the blood to work against. Another is that the mucous and debris from your nose and top of your throat will start to drip and affect the back of your throat, which then sets off the chemical and physical cough signals that are situated in that part of your upper airway. While there are many reasons that you could have a cough when you lay down, you should discuss your specific situation with your doctor, and also discuss smoking cessation at that time.
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