The occasional inhalation of dust or a tickle in the throat may produce a brief coughing fit, but a persistent cough that sticks around can instead be indicative of heart failure, reports the American Heart Association (AHA). Of course, an ongoing cough can alternatively be related to asthma, the flu, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or any other number of alternate health issues. To help differentiate, know that a heart failure-related cough is often a wet cough due to the backup of fluid that takes place in the lungs. Also known as congestive heart failure, the mucus produced from these coughs may be white or pink in color.
Getting even more specific in terms of time of day and body positioning, updated 2023 research published in StatPearls outlines how a nighttime cough (nocturnal cough) that worsens when a person lays flat on their back can also be a symptom of heart failure. However, nocturnal cough is considered a more uncommon symptom of chronic heart failure (via Physiological Research).