Old 01-16-2010, 02:01 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default weak cough a sign of respiratory difficulty?

hi all... just wanted to know how significant the weak cough is.

Is it the throat muscles weakening, signaling the beginning of swallowing difficulties?

or is it as I suspect, sign of respiratory weakness?

mum has not the forceful cough she used to have... while she is still able to clear her lungs (no cough assist needed just yet) i just wonder if we should be preparing for the next stage: respiratory failure. mum has had a very quick progression.

Last edited by rocmg : 01-16-2010 at 02:03 PM Reason: ARGH respiratory difficulty, not respiration difficulty --- can't edit title!!!
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:23 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: weak cough a sign of respiratory difficulty?

rocmg, is your mum using a bipap at night? My dad has been using the cough assist, the suction machine and a bipap since the Spring so if she isn't even there yet I would say that she is definitely not on the verge of respiratory failure. The lungs are powered by the diaphragm and if your mum is still able to breathe on her own all day long, she's in pretty good shape.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:23 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: weak cough a sign of respiratory difficulty?

In my case yes a decreased cough is being caused by weakened muscles. Chest and diaphram I believe more so than neck muscles. I'm not using a cough assist yet either.

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PS: I took the liberty of editing your title.
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:28 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: weak cough a sign of respiratory difficulty?

My husband is not using a bi pap or cough assist yet. He has a weak cough, but is still able to get a good enough breath after a couple of tries to finally get the cough he needs to clear the throat.
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:51 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: weak cough a sign of respiratory difficulty?

rocmg,

Here's what I've noticed from my perspective.

I noticed I was losing the springyness to a cough. There is very little rebound after the first couple of coughs. Kind of like a tennis ball that's lost its bounce. Back when I had a mild cold, it was this inability to cough in succession, that would wake me at night, rather than that I was coughing in my sleep.

When awake, and I'd start to cough, it felt like I was running out of air.

Trying to sleep laying flat makes me short of breath. (without bi-pap)

It was these manifestations, rather than my FVC, that prompted the clinic to order the cough assist machine for my use.

Is you mum on bipap? Its definitely better to start it sooner than later. Its often not the diaphragm which is weakening, but rather the intercostal respiratory muscles. Using the bi-pap at night allows the other muscles to rest some.


As an aside, my dad suffered from COPD for many years. He was a non-smoker but still had emphysema. For probably the last 4 years of his life, maybe even longer, his lips were continually tinged with blue from not getting enough oxygen in. So, with the proper assistive equipment now available, (bi-pap, suction, cough assist) your mum has several non-invasive aids that can help her compensate for weakness.
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:42 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: weak cough a sign of respiratory difficulty?

I don't really need a cough assist yet even though I have a very weak cough but the Dr. said that using it will keep the airways clear and make it much easier to breath and also will excercie the muscles and help keep them active. So one has been ordered. I have had a very weak cough for months now, almost a year.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:19 AM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: weak cough a sign of respiratory difficulty?

Glad you posted this as DH has the same troubles with cough. We also noticed at our daughter's first game of the season, he doesn't have the voice he used to and ran out of air quickly while trying to cheer for her... diaphragm muscles I suppose?
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:46 AM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: weak cough a sign of respiratory difficulty?

I have a weak cough, and my breathing is still good. Mine is caused by weakness in my throat.
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