Why Am I Coughing Up Blood?
While bringing up blood when you cough isn’t usually a sign of a serious health problem if you are young and healthy, for older people, especially if you smoke, this is a concerning symptom. Sometimes you may cough up blood in small amounts if you have a prolonged bout of coughing, but as this is possibly a sign of infection or illness, it is safest to get your symptoms investigated. The chances are it won’t be anything serious, but by taking early action you can get early treatment if tests show a more sinister cause for the blood in your sputum.
Symptoms of Coughing Up Blood
Although you may just cough up a little blood stained mucus, if you produce more than a couple of teaspoons of blood, you should make an appointment with your doctor to assess the likely cause of your bloody mucus. Another worrying symptom that may accompany bloody phlegm is if you notice blood in your urine or stools. You should also seek medical advice if besides coughing up blood you also have chest pain, breathlessness, a high temperature, dizziness, a poor appetite or unintentional weight loss, as a combination of these symptoms signals a more serious problem.
Coughing Up Blood
When you see your doctor, they will want to find out where the blood comes from, as coughed up blood may potentially come from your mouth, throat, airways or stomach. Usually blood from your mouth or throat is mixed with saliva, while blood that comes from your respiratory system is mixed with phlegm. Blood that comes from a potential stomach ulcer is usually mixed with digestive juices, which your doctor can differentiate by asking you to collect a sample. Knowing the site of the blood loss then allows your doctor to narrow down the possible cause of your symptoms.
Coughing Up Blood and Mucus
The most likely reasons for coughing up bloody mucus are either a chest infection or a lung condition called bronchiectasis. A chest infection usually produces colored mucus and you are likely to have a raised temperature and a feeling of tightness in your chest. Meanwhile, bronchiectasis will also present with chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing. Less common causes of coughing up mucus with blood are a blood clot on your lungs, fluid on your lungs, TB or lung cancer. Each condition has its own set of symptoms and your doctor will compare those you experience to the characteristic signs of these lung diseases before arranging further tests.
Coughing Up Blood Causes
Once the reason behind you bringing up blood is known, you can start a course of treatment. This will involve a course of antibiotics if you have a chest infection or TB, taking blood-thinning drugs to dissolve a blood clot or using diuretics to remove excess fluid from your lungs. Alternatively, early identification of lung cancer allows surgical removal of the tumor, though a later diagnosis may require radiotherapy or chemotherapy. However, whatever your diagnosis, after you may need to consider making changes to your diet and lifestyle alongside the medical treatment you receive.
For instance, if the blood in phlegm is due to bronchiectasis and you find dairy produce exacerbates mucus production, you may need to reduce your intake, while boosting your intake of other calcium-rich foods. Another possible change you may need to make is to quit tobacco use if you smoke and your condition is either triggered or worsened by smoking. As chest infections are more common among smokers, smoking reduces blood flow making a blood clot more likely and cigarette smoke is carcinogenic, this is a wise move if you have repeated respiratory infections, a pulmonary embolism or lung cancer. Particularly with the latter, stopping smoking can increase the likelihood that you will have a positive response to treatment. However, giving up cigarettes doesn’t have to be a struggle when you use Chantix. Your chance of success are doubled when you use Chantix for smoking cessation, so take a medical consult online today to arrange your prescription.