Chronic cough in asthma

Imran Satia

Imran Satia, MD, is an assistant professor in the Division of Respirology at McMaster University.

How often is chronic cough the only symptom of asthma?

This is a condition that people often term cough-variant asthma. More recently, some people have also called this cough-predominant asthma. This was first described in mid to late 1970s in small studies demonstrating that maybe 7% to 17% of patients with asthma have cough as the only problem.

Over the years, because [of] this cough with asthma and better diagnosis of asthma, the prevalence of this condition called cough-variant asthma has slowly increased. Now, sometimes it’s as high as 30%. I have noticed that, from epidemiological studies that have been published from patients in Japan and China, the prevalence is much higher than in Europe. I don’t know the reason for this, but we have noticed this from the literature. So that’s my rough estimation.

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