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Why are you coughing up blood?

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Why are you coughing up blood?

Pulmonology | by CMRI | Published on 30/06/2021

Our body has its special ways of telling us that something is wrong and coughing up blood from your lungs is one such symptom that should not be overlooked. Commonly referred to as hemoptysis, the problem is very serious and can be triggered by multiple reasons, which include infection, cancer or defect in the blood vessels present in your lungs. Experts from the best multispeciality hospital in Kolkata suggest that patients suffering from bronchitis are also quite likely to cough up blood.


Getting familiar with different types:


The condition is classified into different types depending on how much blood a person coughs up within a span of 1 day Or 24 hours. However, it is not always easy to tell and detailed evaluation and assessment would be required in such cases.


Top pulmonologists in Kolkata broadly classified hemoptysis into three types:


  • Massive hemoptysis – This is also referred to as life-threatening hemoptysis. The guidelines for this condition vary from expert to expert and usually range between 100 ml to 600 ml of blood.


  • Non-massive hemoptysis – Also referred to as non-life-threatening hemoptysis, moderate hemoptysis or submassive hemoptysis, the condition is marked by coughing up anywhere between 20 to 200 ml of blood in a day.


  • Mild hemoptysis – Commonly referred to as scant hemoptysis, the condition is marked by cutting up not more than 20 ml or a tablespoon of blood in a day.


What causes hemoptysis?


There are a wide array of things that can make a person cough up blood and these range from mild to chronic and some can even be life-threatening. Here is a list of some problems that you are hemoptysis might be pointing towards:


  • Bronchitis (both acute and chronic)


  • Malignancy involving the lungs


  • Bronchiectasis is caused by underlying problems like cystic fibrosis


  • Pneumonia



  • COPD ( chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder)


  • Non-malignant tumors of the lungs


  • Any foreign particle or object in your airway


  • Infection or abscess in the lungs


  • Infection caused by parasites


  • Pulmonary embolism


  • Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations


  • Injuries or blows sustained in an accident


There are a plethora of other reasons as well and the best children’s asthma doctor also suggests that many children or adults may cough up blood during or after an asthma attack.


Conditions similar to hemoptysis


It is important to understand that coughing up blood might not always be associated with your lungs and this might even be coming from your upper digestive tract or upper respiratory tract. This is commonly referred to as pseudo-hemoptysis. In case the patient is vomiting blood instead of coughing it up, the condition is referred to as hematemesis. Now you must be wondering how you can differentiate between the three types. Well, there are a lot of tests available nowadays that can help you figure it out. You can also find it out at home by keenly observing the blood.


  • Hemoptysis is marked by traces of blood in the sputum which makes it look red or pink.


  • Pseudohemoptysis is similar to hemoptysis and only a test can help you differentiate between the two.


  • Hematemesis is marked by the presence of tiny bits of food in the blood, which often looks darker.


When to see a doctor?


Coughing up blood in itself means that something is seriously wrong and you need immediate medical intervention. However if you are experiencing any of the symptoms like chest pain, weight loss, night sweats, high fever, and breathlessness, you need to call the doctor right away. A timely medical evaluation is also necessary if you have been coughing up blood for more than a week. You can find some of the top doctors in the best multispeciality hospital.