General Practice 2022

Blooded phlegm: what it can be and what to do

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Blooded phlegm: what it can be and what to do
Blooded phlegm: what it can be and what to do

The presence of blood in the phlegm is not always an alarm signal for a serious problem, especially in young and he althy people, being, in these cases, almost always related to the presence of prolonged cough or dryness of the system membranes respiratory system, which end up bleeding.

However, if the amount of blood in the phlegm is very high, if it lasts for more than 3 days, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or wheezing, it is important to consult a general practitioner or a pulmonologist., as it can also be a symptom of a more serious problem, such as a respiratory infection or even cancer.

Thus, some of the most common causes for the presence of blood in phlegm are:

1. Prolonged cough

When you have an allergy or flu and you have a dry, strong and prolonged cough, blood when coughing is relatively common, due to irritation of the respiratory tract, which can end up mixed with phlegm. This condition is temporary and usually not serious, disappearing after a few days, especially when the cough improves.

What to do: the ideal is to try to calm the cough to reduce the irritation of the respiratory tract. Good options consist of drinking plenty of water during the day, nasal wash with saline solution to hydrate the mucosa and taking a homemade honey syrup with propolis, for example, or antihistamine syrups, such as loratadine. See how to prepare this syrup and other natural recipes for coughing.

2. Use of anticoagulants

People who are taking anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin or heparin are at a greater risk of bleeding in various parts of the body as the blood thins.Thus, it is possible that, if there is a slight irritation of the respiratory tract, due to an allergy, for example, there may be a small amount of bleeding that is eliminated with coughing and phlegm.

What to do: if the amount of blood present in the phlegm is small, it is not an alarm signal, however, if there is heavy bleeding, you should go to a medical appointment.

3. Respiratory infections

Another relatively common cause of blood in the phlegm is the development of a lung infection, which can range from a simple infection, such as the flu, to more serious situations, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, for example.

In case of respiratory infection, other symptoms are also common, such as yellowish or greenish phlegm, difficulty breathing, pale skin, bluish fingers or lips, fever and chest pain. Check out other signs that help identify a case of lung infection.

What to do: in case of suspicion of a respiratory infection, it is always important to consult a general practitioner or pulmonologist to confirm the diagnosis, identify the cause and initiate the most appropriate treatment, which may include an antibiotic.

4. Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is a chronic condition in which there is a permanent dilation of the bronchi of the lung, causing an excessive production of phlegm, as well as a feeling of frequent shortness of breath. In addition, the presence of blood in the phlegm is also a very common sign.

This condition has no cure, but treatment with medication prescribed by a pulmonologist can relieve symptoms during crises. Understand better what bronchiectasis is and how to identify it.

What to do: bronchiectasis should always be diagnosed by a doctor, so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. Thus, if there is suspicion of this condition, a pulmonologist should be consulted to perform tests, such as X-ray, and observe the characteristics of the bronchi.

5. Bronchitis

Bronchitis can also be associated with the production of bloody phlegm, as there is recurrent inflammation of the bronchi, which increases airway irritation and the chance of bleeding.

In cases of bronchitis, the phlegm is usually white or slightly yellow, and may be accompanied by the presence of a few strands of blood, wheezing when breathing, frequent tiredness and a feeling of shortness of breath. See other symptoms and learn which treatments can be used.

What to do: Often rest and adequate water intake are able to relieve bronchitis symptoms, however, if symptoms are persistent or if difficulty to breathe if it gets worse, it is advisable to go to a doctor, as it may be necessary to use medication directly into the vein. People who suffer from chronic bronchitis should follow-up properly at the pulmonologist, starting the use of the medicines indicated by the doctor as soon as the first signs of crisis appear.

6. Pulmonary edema

Pulmonary edema, popularly known as "water in the lung", occurs when there is an accumulation of fluid inside the lungs, and is therefore more common in people with heart problems, such as congestive heart failure, in which the blood is not pumped correctly by the heart and, therefore, it accumulates in the small blood vessels of the lung, causing fluid to be released into the lung.

In these cases, the released phlegm may be reddish or pinkish and has a slight foamy consistency. In addition, other common symptoms are difficulty breathing, bluish lips and fingers, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat.

What to do: Pulmonary edema is considered a medical emergency. Therefore, if you have a heart problem and you suspect a pulmonary disorder, it is very important to go quickly to the emergency room to confirm the diagnosis and start the most appropriate treatment, which, in the case of edema, is done in hospital. at the hospital.Learn more about treating this condition.

7. Lung cancer

Lung cancer is a rarer condition, but it can also cause bloody phlegm to appear. This type of cancer is more common in people over 40 who smoke.

Other symptoms that can also appear in cases of lung cancer include a persistent cough that does not improve, weight loss, hoarseness, back pain and extreme tiredness. See the 10 signs that can indicate lung cancer.

What to do: whenever there is a suspicion of cancer, especially in people with risk factors, it is very important to consult a pulmonologist to perform all the necessary tests, confirm the diagnosis and start treatment. Generally, the earlier the cancer is identified, the easier it is to achieve a cure.

When to go to the doctor

It is important to consult a pulmonologist to identify the cause of blood in the phlegm, in order to initiate the most appropriate treatment.

The appointment with the doctor is more urgent when there is:

  • Blooded phlegm that does not improve after 3 days;
  • Presence of large amounts of blood in the phlegm;
  • Presence of other symptoms such as high fever, severe difficulty breathing, pale skin, bluish fingers and lips.

To investigate these types of symptoms, the doctor may run tests such as lung X-ray, spirometry or computed tomography, for example.

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