I am hoping you can help recommend as to what kind of specialist and / or tests / suspect diseases to help us take matters into our own hands:

I am assisting a United States veteran with 20 years of service combined in the Marine Corps and currently active duty Army who immediately dry coughs when expending air completely from his lungs or when he laughs (no sputum).  His TriCare physician listened to him take a deep breath, did a chest x-ray and has said they couldn't find anything / stopped there... extremely frustrating, as they did not even ask him to breathe all of the way out - just said take deep breaths, which, without forcing all of the air out, does not produce the cough.  

Symptoms/history:

  • Coughs *only* when laughing or breathing out to a certain capacity
  • Cough has been mostly present / worsened after exposure to burn pits in Iraq (Camp Bucca) 08-09 - lately it has become worsened.
  • No sputum emerges with cough / none is audible in chest 
  • Snores / sleep apnea in family history - sleep study is on the way; breathright strips help improve snoring / patient feels improved breathing and sleep 
  • Allergies as child
  • Exposed to second hand smoke as a child
  • Does not feel discomfort with exercise / does not appear to be asthmatic on surface 

Any insight you could give to help direct to a specialist (should we go to sleep study & request a person who also specializes in xyz? Concurrently schedule an appointment with a pulmonary doc to eliminate anything of concern?  request a CT scan to rule out anything in particular?)  would be highly appreciated. 

Thank you, 

Jess