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Do I have asthma or dust allergy?

Q: I have a cough since a long time. I have taken medicines, cough syrups, etc. It has been 3-4 months but cough is still not under control. I have done an x-ray and blood tests too but these are normal. My family doctor says it might be asthma. I have itching in the throat, which turns to cough and after coughing white phlegm comes out. Itching in the throat is very bad and the doctor says it is due to dust. It may be dust infection and due to, which I am having asthma. He gave me some anti-allergic medicine. Till I was taking the medicine I did not have cough but as soon as the course of five days was over it started again. I am very tensed. Do I really have asthma? What are its signs and what precautions do I have to take? I have another problem of memory loss and loss of concentration. I am unable to remember small things. Please help.

A:Asthma is a common problem in older people & is often associated with cough which may be difficult to treat. It is important to try & eliminate causes in the environment. A major cause is gastrointestinal reflux (GERD) & this could be avoided by reducing food intake late in the day or the overuse of carbonated drinks. Emotional upset & stress can indicate or exacerbate bouts of coughing or shortness of breath. Thoughtful planning can reduce risks including job requirements. Pre-imperative measures are required rather than treatments of episodes or such measures fail cause of treatment will be required under a physician’s control. Reduction of mental capacity is often associated with chronic disease because of preoccupation with symptoms & vice-versa. The condition may require psychological counselling. Because there are no drugs to help, people with decreasing memory may try unproven remedies such as ginseng, vitamins, ginko, co-enzyme Q10. The major problem is patients forget to take these medicines when prescribed.

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