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Medical Article

Blood coughing can be a serious issue

Coughing up blood can be a serious issue. It is associated with respiratory conditions like bronchitis, bronchiectasis, lung cancer, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis and aspiration of foreign body in the respiratory tract.
There are many other potential reasons for coughing up blood. Conditions like lupus erythematous, congestive heart failure and use of anticoagulants can also cause coughing up blood.
Infection, cancer and problems in blood vessels or in the lungs themselves can be responsible for coughing up blood. Coughing up blood is not the same as bleeding from the mouth, throat or gastrointestinal tract. The blood from your lungs is often the result of prolonged coughing or chest infection. If the blood is dark and contains bits of food, it may be coming from your digestive system.

The causes of coughing up blood

Acute Bronchitis:- The bronchial tube deliver air to lungs. Inflammation of this tube creates mucus. It can be caused by bacteria or virus or typical organisms. Acute bronchitis usually occurs due to viral chest infection. It may be present with a shortness of breath, a cough, which is prolonged for10 days and contain clear and colored mucus. Wheezing,  a low grade fever or high fever could be the indication of a secondary infection such as pneumonia, chest pain or tightness, sore throat etc.  Physical examination, chest X-ray and spirometry are useful to diagnose the condition.

Pneumonia:- It is an infection of lung parenchyma. Bacteria, viruses and fungi can cause pneumonia. The common symptoms include high grade fever, cough, and shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fast breathing. If pneumonia is suspected, the healthcare provider will likely order a chest X-ray, blood and sputum culture, CT scan of the chest, Bronchoscopy.

Lung Cancer:- One of the earliest symptoms of lung cancer can be coughing up blood or blood-stained sputum. There are usually no symptoms in early stages of lung cancer, eventually symptoms like coughing up blood, persistent breathlessness, unexplained tiredness and weight loss, an ache or pain when breathing or coughing. The diagnosis of the malignant tumour is through CT Scan of Chest, X-ray, bronchoscopy etc.

Cystic fibrosis: - It is a hereditary condition that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract and other areas of the body. It is a life threatening disorder. It is caused by a defective gene that makes the body produce abnormally thick and sticky fluid called mucus. The mucus accumulates in the breathing passage of the lungs. The disease may also affect the sweat glands and a man’s reproductive system. Symptoms may include clubbed fingers, recurrent episode of pneumonia, nasal congestion, bloody sputum, fatigue, weight loss etc. Diagnosis is concluded with sweat chronicle test, chest X-ray, CT scan, stool test, lung function test, and secreting stimulation test and serum electrolytes.

Pulmonary edema:- It is an abnormal build up of fluid in the lungs. This build up of fluids lead to shortness of breath. When the heart is not able to pump effectively, blood can back up into the veins that take blood through the lungs. The common symptoms include coughing up blood, breathing difficulty while lying down etc. Blood chemistries, Chest X-ray, Electrocardiogram, Echocardiogram are used to find the disease.
Pulmonary Tuberculosis:- It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The primary stage of TB does not cause symptoms.  It present with breathing difficulty, chest pain, coughing up blood, night sweats, weight loss, fever, fatigue etc. Sputum examination and culture, Bronchoscopy, chest CT scan, Chest X-ray, biopsy etc., will help to confirm the diagnosis.

Congestive heart failure:- It is a condition that the heart’s pumping power is weaker than the normal. With heart failure, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate and pressure in the heart increases.  It leads to accumulation of fluid in the legs, ankles, abdomen, lungs etc. Tests to evaluate normal function of organs such as kidney and thyroid, the levels of Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP, B-type natriuretic peptide), chest X-ray, echocardiogram, and electrocardiogram are some of the tests that help in diagnosing congestive heart failure.