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Coughing up of blood from the respiratory tract. The blood can come from the nose, mouth, throat, the airway passages leading to the lungs, or the lungs. The word
Organ or part of body involved: Respiratory tract.
Symptoms and indications: Coughing, blood in the sputum that is bright red, liquid or clotted, or frothy in appearance.
Causes and risk factors: Blood-tinged mucus in a healthy nonsmoker usually indicates a mild infection and is generally no cause for concern. Indeed, the most common cause of haemoptysis is the least serious -- a ruptured small blood vessel caused by coughing and/or a bronchitic infection. In patients with a history of smoking or who are otherwise at risk for lung disease, however, haemoptysis is often a sign of serious illness, including cancer. Other serious diseases that can cause haemoptysis include bronchiectasis (chronic dilation and infection of the bronchioles and bronchi), pulmonary embolus (a clogged artery in the lungs that can lead to tissue death), pneumonia (a lung infection), and tuberculosis. Haemoptysis can also result from inhaling a foreign body, such as a particle of food that ruptures a blood vessel.
Prevention: Stop smoking.