Coughing up blood

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Coughing up blood can be caused by a variety of lung conditions. The blood may be bright red or pink and frothy, or it may be mixed with mucus.

Also known as hemoptysis (he-MOP-tih-sis), coughing up blood, even in small amounts, can be alarming. However, producing a little blood-tinged sputum isn’t uncommon and usually isn’t serious.

Call 911 or seek emergency care if you’re coughing up blood in large quantities or at frequent intervals.

Hemoptysis refers to coughing up bloods from some part of the lungs (respiratory tract). Blood coming from elsewhere, such as your stomach, can appear to be from the lungs. It’s important for your doctor to determine the site of the bleeding, and then determine why you’re coughing up bloods.

The major cause of coughing up bloods is chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis. Other possible causes of coughing up bloods include:

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation — worsening of symptoms
Cystic fibrosis
Drug use, such as crack cocaine
Foreign body
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis)
Lung abscess
Lung cancer
Mitral valve stenosis
Parasitic infection
Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in an artery in the lung)
Trauma to the chest
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

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