I have had a chronic cough for almost 3 years. It started with a sudden illness that featured a very deep cough (but no chest congestion) and extreme exhaustion. This lasted for over a month. Doctors did not run tests but suggested it might have been whooping cough. I slowly recovered from the exhaustion, but the cough continued for the next 2 years without relief. The continual coughing stopped suddenly last winter and has returned only intermittantly since.
1 year ago I began having recurring episodes of sudden violent coughing, with gagging, vomiting and loss of bladder control. These have usually - though not always - been accompanied by swelling of my lips, face, and thoat. Some of these episodes have resulted in stridor when my airway is comprised and I have to go to the emergency room for intervention. I received a diagnosis of chronic recurrent acquired angioedema, and have been treated with antihistamines and prednisone as needed.
A few days ago I had another episode which came on very suddenly with extremely violent coughing, and gagging. I felt extremely hot and my face turned very red. My heart beat very fast and I was breathing very hard from the onset. The episode lasted over 4 hours. All I could do was lay on the floor and cough. I developed an extremely bad headache as a result, and was thoroughly exhausted when it finally passed. My face and eyelids swelled (almost shut), but this time my airway was not compromised so I didn't go to the ER. The coughing is so violent that all the muscles are extremely sore for days after an attack.
I have noticed that being tired tends to lead to an attack. Traveling almost always results in an attack. Also, while traveling this past week I realized that even minimal activity (such as shopping) resulted in my breaking out in a cold sweat and total exhaustion. These attacks are accompanied by an immediate swelling of my sinuses and a great deal of drainage (which is totally clear and thin), but the congestion starts with the attack and doesn't precede it.
I don't know what to think or where to go for help. This is interfering with my life, and is very scary when it occurs. Can anyone steer me in the right direction? Would you think this is an autoimmune condition? What type of doctor would you consult? Any input would be appreciated.
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