If you have been coughing up phlegm with blood, then it’s time to find out what’s wrong. Undermentioned are the various causes and treatment options for the same.
If it wasn’t bad enough that you are coughing up phlegm, it’s only worse to see that the phlegm has streaks of blood in it. A variety of lung conditions can be the reason behind it. It can be spotted in different forms: bright red, pink and frothy, or mixed with mucus. Its presence in the phlegm — also called hemoptysis — could be quite alarming, even if found in a small amount. However, observing a tinge of blood is a common sight and isn’t of grave concern.
What Causes Blood in Phlegm
Phlegm is produced as a natural response by the immune system to any kind of irritant in the body. As the phlegm passes through the respiratory tract, it may get tinged with blood if there is any lung infection. However, this could occur anywhere along the entire length of the respiratory tract. Hence, this is a symptom that is not adequate to base a diagnosis on; it is merely an indicator of something being wrong somewhere along the respiratory tract.
Blood coming from elsewhere, like the stomach can mimic the condition that arises from the respiratory tract. Hence, it is necessary to examine, or ascertain the site of bleeding, and then find out the reason for its presence.
Lung cancer, a major cause of death, is observed in people, who indulge in long-term smoking. One of the first few symptoms of lung cancer is expelling bloody phlegm. However, unlike the other cases, the phlegm is extremely thick, which may even cause difficulty in breathing while coughing it up. Hence, when you notice such phlegm being given out, you should immediately contact the doctor.
Certain cardiovascular diseases can also show symptoms of bloody phlegm. These include valvular heart diseases, like mitral stenosis or mitral regurgitation, congestive heart failure, arteriovenous malformation, etc. When phlegm with blood is noticed in the morning, it could signal the risk of an underlying heart disease.
There are certain miscellaneous conditions that may lead to phlegm with blood in it, like sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, lymphatic disorders, reactions to certain medications, coagulation disorders, like thrombocytopenia, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, bleeding disorders, like hemophilia, etc.
What You Need to Do
◘ If you have a viral cold and notice blood spots in your phlegm, then you should stay open-eyed. If it gets worse, it’s time you see a doctor.
◘ Don’t self-prescribe an over-the-counter cough suppressant to repress your blood-tinged mucus. Rather, it’s better your physician examines you and prescribes one.
◘ If you spit up a lot of bloody cough, you can take a sample along for testing. Preferably, cough up in a container, so that you can retrieve it.
Call Your Doctor …
◘ If you notice more than a few teaspoons of blood.
◘ If you also come across symptoms, like fever, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
◘ If you pass out while coughing.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical professional.