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Thread: Coughing

  1. #1
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    Coughing

    My mother, who is in the late stages of dementia, has started coughing up phlegm (for about 2 weeks now)quite frequently. She has been checked out by GP and by paramedics, who say there is no infection and she is fine. However, this is really distressing her.
    Anyone come across this?
     

  2. #2
    I don't want in any way to scare you but a word of warning. My husband has always had a 'smoker's cough' which has never been troubling and never seemed to warrent further investigation. Recently he had an x ray for an unrelated incident during a visit to accident and emergency. This then led to a scan which then led to a very bad diagnosis.

    Do you think the GP could arrange an x ray just to be sure? I know it was difficult enough getting my husband to keep still for one and much harder getting him to the scan and to keep him still for it, but I do think it is good to have a proper investigation, just to ease your mind.

    xxTinaT
    Last edited by TinaT; 20-10-2010 at 06:04 PM.
     

  3. #3
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    Thanks Tina. I honestly think at this stage it would in no way help to uncover anything more sinister when nothing could be done anyway.
     

  4. #4
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    hi linette

    my dad has had a cough for some time and the doctor twice had the stethoscope on his chest to say there is no infection ( dad is 90 and very frail) but this time on monday they did give him antibiotic and so far half way through the course i have seemed a marked improvement

    not medical advice just a comment on how it has been for us this week

    tim
     

  5. #5
    No I never encountered that with my mother in her last stages of dementia. She had difficulty swallowing her food but not her phlegm. If its distressing your mother then perhaps the GP should take another look and advise best course of action. What do the care home staff say about this distress? It must have been quite bad for them to have called paramedics.
    Is she having difficulty swallowing sometimes and so cannot swallow her own phlegm (even if its not infected) which I think can happen because the swallowing reflex can be affected or has she got a bit of food/bone stuck in her throat that has been missed?
    Last edited by sunny; 20-10-2010 at 08:26 PM.
     

  6. #6
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    They were alarmed the first time it happened and called an ambulance. It is almost like a vomiting and the noise she makes is quite alarming, you see.
    In between, she is ok (well, as ok as she can be)
    The SLT (think that's right?) have also seen her and so she has a soft diet now. I does seem to be something to do with eating and drinking, I think.
     

  7. #7
    I think the soft diet might be the way to go now then.
    Lets hope so but obviously a good eye needs to be kept on her especially at mealtimes.
    Very worrying for all concerned.

    Another thought also does she have false teeth? I wondered if she has if they fitted ok or are they dropping down when she eats because her gums may have shrunk causing her to gag.

    I just thought of that because sometimes that does happen.

    Exhausted all my theories, but I hope she is going to be ok and i hope you are with it all as well. It is very stressing.
    Last edited by sunny; 20-10-2010 at 08:54 PM.
     

  8. #8
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    Hi
    Have you or anyone been able to look at the phlegm.
    It should be clear in colour if its coloured ie green then its infected, if so get gp back he needs to be told phlegm is coloured. In my experience docs dont ask this .

    To have called out gp and paramedics the staff must be very concerned .

    Often in late stages they have a problem swallowing causing coughing/choking but usually no phlegm, it is possible though

    Have you noticed a pattern like, coughing whilst eating or drinking
    Lin

    Daughter and former carer

    If only I could have Hindsight beforehand, oh what a difference it would make .

    Odd words,mis-spelling and punctuation are most likely due to my clever phone, it seems to have its own ideas about what I am trying to say, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it lol
     

  9. #9
    I hadn't thought of false teeth not fitting properly as the facial features shrink in my last post to you. I wonder if this is the cause of your mother's distress?

    This also happened to my husband and although he did break his upper teeth in a fall, he needed new dentures wehich fitted better. I noticed this when I laid him on the bed for an afternoon nap and he choked because his dentures had slipped to the back of his throat.

    xxTinaT
     

  10. #10
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    It doesn't have to be an infection causing the phlegm. It could be a build up of fluid in the lungs due, perhaps, to some heart failure, or even emphysema which causes sputum but isn't necessarily infected. A chest x-ray wouldn't show it up. It would have to be investigated by a probe/camera into the lung, which could be distressing in itself - I don't know if it is, just guessing. My mum had repeated chest problems, infections, coughing, shortness of breath, never properly investigated, and she died suddenly after a choking fit. I do wonder if that could have been avoided if I had agreed to the investigations. I was advised against them as not being worth the trauma, but I will never know.

    Love

    Margaret
     

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all your replies.
    My Mum has no false teeth and the "phlegm" is clear.
    So I guess there is no answer (as I think I knew) and we will just wait and see.
     

 

 

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