ZocdocAnswersWhat's making my chest congested?

Question

What's making my chest congested?

At random times, completely out of the blue, my chest gets severely congested and I can't stop coughing. My nose also gets congested after coughing for around a half hour. I'm a 51 year old female and have never had this problem before.

Answer

I would suggest that you go to see your primary care doctor. Any cough that goes on for any prolonged period of time should be checked out. The list of things that can cause symptoms like this is very long, and it will require a physical examination to sort out. If you have a history of asthma or seasonal allergies, it is possible that these coughing fits represent a worsening of these condition. If so, you may require adjusting of your medications that you use to control these conditions. Coughing can also be a sign of a lung infection or a respiratory infection. One infection that comes to mind when you describe 'coughing fits' is pertussis, which can occur sometimes in older people as immunity from the pertussis vaccine wanes over time. Sinus problems could cause fits of coughing. This is because the mucus from the sinuses drips down the back of the throat, irritating the airways and provoking coughing. Coughing can also sometimes be a sign of a heart problem, especially if you have other symptoms such as trouble with exercises (like climbing stairs), shortness of breath, or swelling in the legs. Start by seeing your primary care doctor, who can help you figure out what is going on.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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