You have seen it countless times in movies and streaming series, and when a character is coughing up blood, it is never a good sign for him. Then you see a thin strand of blood in your own cough for the first time and start to freak out. What is happening to you?
Hemoptysis, or coughing up blood, is a symptom of many health problems, including severe lung diseases like lung cancer and complicated tuberculosis, but also others that are not necessarily life-threatening, such as bronchitis. Moreover, hemoptysis can be a sign of many different health issues, so it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you experience blood in your cough. But first, calm down and stop making wild suppositions.
In this article, we’ll explore hemoptysis or coughing up blood as a symptom, and after reading, you will have everything you need to know about this particular problem. Why does it happen? What else can you feel? What will doctors do to diagnose your condition?
What is coughing up blood, and what are the causes?
Let’s start the conversation with a definition. It will help us stay on the same ground. So, what is coughing up blood?
Hemoptysis (also called coughing up blood) is a symptom characterized by having a productive cough with mucus and blood or blood alone. It can be bright red and abundant blood or thin streaks of blood spread in the mucus. It can be life-threatening or another sign that you have an infection or active inflammation in your respiratory tract. Thus, you should always seek medical care if you experience hemoptysis just to ensure it is not due to a severe ailment.
Hemoptysis is typically caused by lung or heart problems. However, it can sometimes be caused by a medical condition in your blood that impairs normal functions such as blood clotting and tissue healing.
Other possible causes of hemoptysis include using certain drugs, such as antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs or sildenafil. You may also experience hemoptysis if you use illicit drugs such as cocaine. Certain factors also may increase the risk of hemoptysis, including your age, smoking or tobacco use, and certain medical conditions, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.