When is Coughing up Blood really serious?

Coughing up blood can be frightening, but it isn't always a sign of a serious problem. It's more likely to be a cause for concern as you get older, especially if you smoke. There are many causes for slight blood that shows up in the sputum. Still, if you cough up blood, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Causes of coughing blood

  • Mild respiratory infections
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Lung cancer
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis

Rare causes are

Coughing up blood can be caused by a number of potentially serious conditions. These, for example, necessitate immediate medical attention:

  • Injury in the lung arteries
  • Heart failure
  • Abnormal tissue deposits
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism)

Certain medical tests and procedures can also cause coughing up blood as a side effect. Among these tests and procedures are:

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Spirometry
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Nasal surgery
  • Upper airway biopsy

How to distinguish blood that comes in the cough

Hemoptysis can occur when there is bleeding in the throat, trachea, or lungs' large or small airways (the bronchi or the bronchioles).

Many people report spitting up blood-streaked mucus as one of their symptoms. Coughed-up blood is frequently mixed with phlegm and has a bubbly appearance.

It is critical to distinguish between coughing up blood and blood brought up through your mouth from other parts of your body. Spitting up blood that does not come from your lungs or bronchial tubes is referred to as "pseudohemoptysis." The term "hematemesis" refers to blood that comes from your esophagus and stomach (throwing up blood).

Know more about coughing blood

Get immediate assistance if:

  • Coughing is more than a few teaspoons of blood
  • Additionally, there is blood in your urine or stool
  • Pain in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Lightheadedness
  • Breathing difficulty

Coughing blood can also be a sign of a serious condition such as a pulmonary embolism, heart failure, or a lung abscess, so it's critical to see a doctor as soon as possible.

However, it may be comforting to know that coughing up a small amount of blood isn't always fatal. It has been linked to a variety of medical conditions, and experts say that less than one in every twenty cases is life-threatening.

You may be coughing up small amounts of blood because of a chest infection or a persistent cough that has irritated the blood vessels that line your airways, or a severe nosebleed is causing blood to come out in your saliva

Large amounts of blood in cough

Massive hemoptysis is the coughing up of large amounts of blood (600ml or more in a 24-hour period). This is a life-threatening situation that is frequently associated with a serious medical condition such as lung cancer or bronchiectasis.

Bronchiectasis occurs when the bronchial tubes in your lungs become permanently widened and damaged as a result of chronic inflammation.

If you suspect that you are suffering from severe hemoptysis, you should immediately seek medical attention or call an ambulance.

Doctors will use specialized medication or a procedure such as a bronchoscopy or surgery to try to stop the bleeding. They will also order tests to diagnose and treat the underlying cause.

Coughing up dark blood

If you're vomiting blood (haematemesis) or coughing up small amounts of blood that appear dark and may contain food or coffee grounds, the blood could be coming from your stomach or digestive system.

This is also a medical emergency, and you should see a doctor right away.

Coughing up frothy red blood

If you cough up bright red and frothy blood, rust-colored or blood-stained phlegm, the blood could be coming from your lungs or bronchi (the large tubes going down to your lungs).

Bleeding from the lungs and airways can be caused by a chronic cough or a chest infection such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

This is not to say you should ignore your symptoms or try to treat them at home. A clotting disorder, a lung abscess, lung cancer, or heart failure are all possible causes.

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What to do for a bloody cough?

Coughing up blood can indicate a serious medical problem.

Consult your doctor if you've been coughing up small amounts of blood for more than a week. They'll figure out what's causing your hemoptysis.

Seek medical attention right away if you are coughing up more than a few teaspoons of blood or if your cough is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest ache.
  • You have blood in your urine or stools.
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Fever.
  • Weight loss that is sudden or severe.

How to deal with the symptoms

Coughing up blood can be treated in a variety of ways, depending on the underlying cause. If the source of the problem is simply throat irritation caused by excessive coughing, over-the-counter throat lozenges and cough suppressants may suffice.

The treatment goals are to first stop the bleeding, especially large amounts of bleeding and then treat the underlying cause. If an infection is the root of the problem, your doctor may prescribe medication.

You will need to go to the hospital if you have severe bleeding. Endovascular embolization, a procedure that stops bleeding, may be recommended by a doctor. Depending on the cause, additional procedures or surgeries may be required.

How to Stop Coughing Up Blood

Coughing up blood is frequently a sign of a disease, condition, or illness. Ignoring the symptom may worsen the underlying cause.

Prevention entails addressing the issue and receiving appropriate treatment. Some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking (or not starting) or avoiding going outside when pollution and smog levels are high, can be beneficial.

If you have a persistent cough, do not disregard it. Taking care of this can help you avoid coughing up blood.

Have you noticed blood in your cough? Do not delay and consult our specialist.Book an appointment with us!


  • A doctor should always be consulted if you are coughing up blood.
  • Coughing up large amounts of blood or struggling to breathe is a life-threatening emergency.
  • Coughing up small amounts of blood isn't always life-threatening, but it should be checked.
  • If you're vomiting up dark blood, it could be from your stomach; this is a medical emergency.
  • Your doctor will ask you a series of questions and may order blood tests, X-rays of your chest, or a CT scan.


Coughing up blood may indicate a serious condition. Always seek medical attention. Visit a doctor, know its causes and take a treatment plan.

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