Treatment for a rare lung disease may be made more efficient by the discovery that a cough is a reliable symptom of some of the most urgent cases.
Researchers at University of California, San Francisco, found coughing was an indicator that could predict which patients are likely to need a lung transplant in the near future.
The disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a life-threatening lung condition that causes respiratory tissue to become scarred and thicker, explained the doctors.
After testing 242 patients with the disease the scientists observed the cough was present in 84 per cent of cases and particularly in those in the advanced stages of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
The British Lung Foundation states although the cause of the condition is unknown people can reduce their risk of developing it by taking some precautionary measures such as eating a good balanced diet, staying physically fit and getting a flu jab.