Why Am I Coughing up Blood? 13 Causes of Hemoptysis

Coughing up blood can act as an indication of severe health problems. From acute and minor infections to serious medical conditions such as cancer, this condition needs immediate attention of a medical professional. The medical term for the condition is hemoptysis. Even though it could be happening due to a minor chest infection that can easily be treated with proper medication, one should consider it as a warning sign and get some tests done.

Types Of Conditions When Coughing up Blood:

1. Pure Blood

When a person coughs up pure blood, it is a serious matter of concern. It can be minor or massive depending upon the disease. Minor blood loss can indicate TB, cancer, and severe infections. A significant amount of bleeding can be caused by rupturing of blood vessels due to an excessive growth of cancer cells or damage in the lungs due to severe TB.

2. Frothy, Pink Sputum

This condition arises when the lungs are overloaded with fluids which can indicate a kidney failure or a heart failure. Such as condition is called pulmonary edema and if immediate medical attention is not sought to, it can prove to be potentially fatal. This situation comes under emergencies.

3. Streaks Of Blood

When the phlegm is filled with lines or streaks of blood, mostly it is an indicator of pneumonia and bronchitis. If you experience excessive coughing, sweating during the night time, or sudden weight loss, it is a wise move to get yourself tested for tuberculosis.


13 Causes of Coughing Up Blood Or Hemoptysis:

Mostly in kids, when they inhale a foreign body such as a small toy, in order to expel that out, coughing up of blood sometimes happens. There are many reasons that can be responsible for this problem. Though all of these problems are not as dangerous as life-threatening, there can also be some serious health issues that may cause the coughing up blood. Sometimes, you may cough up a small amount of blood mixed with the pus or mucus. This problem is not life-threatening most of the times. But when massive Hemoptysis is noticed, you must take it as a serious medical condition. There are 13 diseases listed below to make you understand for which you are coughing up blood. Go through these medical conditions and understand why you may experience the Hemoptysis.

1. Bronchitis

Hemoptysis due to bronchitis is normally minor and is not life-threatening at all. Bronchitis occurs due to the inflammation that is caused in the lining of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are responsible for carrying air to the lungs. People suffering from bronchitis tend to cough up thickened mucus that is discolored.

2. Lung Tumor

A lung tumor is indicated by an overgrowth of the pulmonary tissue or the presence of a nodule. If the tumor is not cancerous and is detected at an early stage, the chances of your survival can be greatly increased.

3. Physical Trauma

When a person has recently met with an accident or has suffered a gunshot wound, the physical trauma accompanied by it can cause bleeding while coughing.

4. Pulmonary Embolus

Pulmonary Embolus is a blood clot in the pulmonary artery in the lung. There are several causes of PE like smoking, immobility, surgery, pregnancy, cancer and obesity. These causes can increase the risk of a blood clot which is travelling from the legs to the lungs. This is called deep vein thrombosis.

The patient may experience breathing problem, cough, fever, dizziness, profuse sweating, chest pain and calf area swelling. These symptoms should be taken very seriously and the treatment of the PE should be very prompt. In most of the cases, there can be several blood clots in the arteries and it can be life-threatening as well. So, the treatment should be started to restrict the size of the blood clot and prevent the formation of another blood clot at the same time.

5. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a lung disease. It affects the lungs. The most common cause of the disease is through the infected person. Other causes are malnutrition and living under unhygienic conditions. If not treated timely, it can eventually lead to death.

The infected person experiences severe coughing for days in a row. Blood also comes out with a cough. Usually, the sputum test and a clinical checkup reveal the disease. The usual treatment is an antibiotic course which may heal the condition if taken timely and regularly throughout the course.

6. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a chronic disease of the lung. In this condition, the air sacs present in the lungs get filled up with fluid. Therefore, it makes it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia is spread by the infected person or by excessive smoking. Drinking too much can also cause this disease. Excessive coughing can cause blood to come out.

The usual treatment is antibiotics for sever case. For mild cases, proper diet and drinking lots of fluids can help a great deal.

7. Bronchiectasis

In this case, the difficulty in breathing is caused due to inflammation of the lungs. The air pipes are enlarged and hence mucus accumulates in this. Usually not able to breathe is associated with a cough tinged with blood. Other symptoms may include fatigue, shortness of breath, foul smell in mouth etc.

A proper clinical diagnosis at the earliest is necessary to prevent worsening of the condition.

8. Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the most common disease where coughing up blood is a very common symptom. Bleeding usually does not occur for each and every patient. It may usually be the case where a tumour has broken or blood vessels are ruptured in the airways.

Lung cancer may be caused by a lot of reasons including smoking, drinking or maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle. If detected early, treatment may reduce the severity of the disease.

9. Pulmonary oedema

The pulmonary oedema is the accumulation of fluids in the air sacs of the lungs. It may happen due to any major organ failure or serious infection. The patient may cough up pinkish blood with sputum. Other symptoms may include difficulty in breathing especially lying down, anxiety, swelling of legs etc. based on the nature and cause of disease, the doctor may prescribe medications or treatment.

10. Cystic fibrosis

This disease is caused by a faulty gene in our body. Excessive buildups of mucus in the lungs are a characteristic feature of this disease. The symptoms include coughing with blood, nasal congestion, pneumonia etc. If detected early, the survival of the patient can be prolonged. It is generally detected in the first two years of the life. People with a chronic form of this disease do not survive beyond 30 years of age.

11. Mountain sickness

While mountain sickness might seem like an innocent disease for coughing up blood, it may happen so in severe cases. It usually happens to people climbing fast or travelling at very high altitudes due to lack of oxygen. The severe cases of acute mountain sickness include coughing up blood along with tightness in the chest and blue coloured skin.

12. Congestive Heart failure

Congestive heart disease is a condition which happens when the heart is unable to pump a sufficient amount of blood required for the body. It is caused by hypertension, thyroid, obesity, diabetes etc. the most common symptom include excessive sweating, unable to eat and difficulty breathing. It leads to congested lungs due to which the patient may cough up blood. There are certain medications which treat the disease.

13. Aspergillosis

The aspergillosis is caused by the fungi and it mainly affects the lungs. It generally affects people having a weak immune system. The symptoms are fever, difficulty in breathing and cough with blood. A proper diagnosis of the disease must be done to get timely treatment. An antifungal treatment is usually advised by the doctor.

Coughing up blood can be caused due to acute and chronic conditions. But it is important to know that these symptoms are a warning sign for severely serious diseases. Therefore, you should ensure that you get an immediate medical attention at the onset of any one of these two symptoms.

Can coughing up blood be harmless?

No. In most cases it is a sign of prolonged cough, a chest infection or bronchiectasis. These are lesser harmful reasons but still need immediate medical consultation.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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