The coughing up of blood is not the same as bleeding from the mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines. Blood that is expelled from the respiratory tract is generally frothy or bubbly in appearance, and may be bright red or rust-colored. Sometimes, only streaks of blood may be present in the coughed-up mucus, and this is still considered hemoptysis.
Causes of Hemoptysis
There are many conditions that may cause hemoptysis, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Blood clots in the lungs
- Chronic bronchitis
- Lung cancer
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pulmonary edema
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Hemoptysis may be a sign of a serious underlying condition. Contact your health care provider as soon as possible if you notice any amount of blood in your mucus.
Sometimes, however, the presence of hemoptysis be an emergency. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- A cough that produces more than a teaspoon of blood
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Severe dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- Chest pain
- Blood in the urine or stools (black tarry stools is indicative of blood in the stools)