Study Links Idiopathic Cough to Iron Deficiency in Women

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- A small but provocative Italian study suggests that women complaining of chronic idiopathic cough should be evaluated for iron deficiency.

Researchers at the University of Turin (Italy) observed that cough and signs and symptoms of pharyngolaryngitis were improved or resolved after iron supplementation in 16 healthy nonsmoking women who had idiopathic cough and iron deficiency (average serum ferritin 9.4 ng/mL) and mild anemia (hemoglobin 11.6 g/dL).

The women, aged 18-56 years, had no history of atopy, asthma, or other bronchopulmonary diseases, and no evidence of gastroesophageal reflux. All had normal results on lung function tests, lead investigator Dr. Caterina B. Bucca reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.

The women presented with marked oral redness and soreness, atrophy of oral mucosa and tongue papillae, and angular cheilosis. Nine patients had dysphonia. Exhaled nitric oxide was normal (average 14.9 parts per billion) in all patients, she said.

Histamine challenge showed bronchial hyperresponsiveness in 4 women, extrathoracic airway hyperresponsiveness in 14 women, and cough hyperresponsiveness in 15 women. A significant association was observed between [PC.sub.5] coughs (the histamine concentration that provokes five coughs) and [PC.sub. …