How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. To diagnose pneumonia, and to try to identify the germ that is causing the illness, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, and how and when they began. To help figure out if your infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, you may be asked some questions about possible exposures, such as:
- Any recent travel
- Exposure to other sick people at home, work or school
- Whether you have recently had another illness
Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you have pneumonia, your lungs may make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale.
If your doctor suspects you may have pneumonia, they will probably recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about your infection. These may include:
- Blood tests to confirm the infection and to try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.
- Chest X-ray to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.
- Pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test on a sample of mucus taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.
Delirium Confusion Or Changes In Mental Awareness
As pneumonia is a condition that causes inflammation and infection, its possible for it to interfere with brain function and possibly lead to delirium, which Healthline.com defines as an abrupt change in the brain that causes mental confusion and emotional disruption.
Such confusionwhich may also be the result of a high fever or lack of oxygen in the bloodis particularly common in adults with pneumonia that are 65 years of age or older, and they may become disoriented or lack awareness of whats going on around them.
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Signs and symptoms: Coughing up blood Hemoptysis
Coughing up blood Hemoptysis
Coughing up blood is the spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from the lungs and throat .
Hemoptysis Spitting up blood Bloody sputum
Hemoptysis is the medical term for coughing up blood from the respiratory tract.
Coughing up blood is not the same as bleeding from the mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract.
Blood that comes up with a cough often looks bubbly because it is mixed with air and mucus. It is usually bright red.
A number of conditions, diseases, and medical tests may make you cough up blood.
Diseases and conditions may include:
- Bleeding gums such as with gingivitis
- Blood clot in the lung
- Irritation of the throat from violent coughing
- Lung cancer
- Pulmonary aspiration
- Pulmonary edema
Diagnostic tests that may make you cough up blood may include:
- Upper airway biopsy
Cough suppressants may help if this condition is due to throat irritation from violent coughing. However, cough suppressants may lead airway obstruction in some cases. Always check with your doctor first.
It is very important to note how long you cough up blood. You should also keep track of the following:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
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Light Red Blood Streaks In Phlegm
This author has been verfied for credibility and expertise
Phlegm, or sputum, is produced when the lungs are inflamed and excess mucous is produced in the respiratory tract. The medical term for blood in the sputum is hemoptysis. According to MedlinePlus, blood in the sputum differs from bleeding that comes from the mouth, stomach or throat because it contains air bubbles combined with mucous 1. Blood mixed with phlegm could be bright red, rust colored or streaked with red.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
What Exactly Does It Mean To Cough Up Bloodand How Worrisome Is It
Coughing up blood is the spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from the lungs and throat, according to the US National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus resource. It should be noted that blood that comes up with a cough often looks bubbly, since it’s mixed with air and mucus. Per MedlinePlus, the blood can appear bright red or rust-colored, and may only show up as streaks in mucus.
Hemoptysis may occur in a variety of diseases, according to Gregory Cosgrove, MD, PFF, chief medical officer for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. But it’s important to note that it’s not always indicative of serious disease: The amount/rate of blood expectorated and the presence of associated symptoms such as breathlessness, low oxygenation , or even changes in blood pressure , all factor into the seriousness of coughing up blood.
According to MedlinePlus, a number of conditions, diseases, and even medical tests and medications can make a person cough up blood. A few include: bronchitis, lung cancer, pneumonia, irritation of the throat from violent coughing, tuberculosis, a bronchoscopy, or even blood-thinning drugs.
Hemoptysis in general is never a symptom you should ignore , but “typically, patients cough up small flecks of blood intermixed with phlegm,” says Dr. Cosgrve. At that point, your doctor may tell you to manage symptoms to help minimize heavy coughing, but to keep track of how long you cough up blood and how much blood is mixed with mucus.
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Purplish Skin Lips And Fingernails
Pneumonia may also cause the skin to take on a dusky or purplish skin color, as described byMedicalNewsToday.com. It may be most noticeable on areas of the body such as the lips and fingernails.
This change in skin color is a condition known as cyanosis, and is usually caused by low oxygen levels in the red blood cells or problems getting oxygenated blood to your body, says Healthline.com. Cyanosis occurs in people with pneumonia because inflamed air sacs in the lungs make it hard to breathe and, therefore, get a sufficient amount of oxygen into the body. As with sweating, the source indicates this symptom is particularly common in cases of bacterial pneumonia.
How Can You Tell If You Have Haemoptysis
It can be hard to identify where the bleeding is coming from. If it is haemoptysis, it is likely that:
- the sputum is frothy, or looks liquid or clotted
- the blood is bright red or pink
- you also have lung disease
- you do not have nausea or vomiting
If the blood is coming from the gut, you are also likely to feel nauseous or be vomiting. The sputum will look like it contains coffee grounds, and the blood will be brown to black or mixed with food particles.
Depending on the cause of the haemoptysis, you might also have:
Sometimes, doctors cannot find the cause.
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What Color Is Your Mucus When You Have A Sinus Infection
White Mucus If a virus makes its way into your nose and into the air-filled pockets behind your forehead, cheeks and nose called the sinuses your nose may start to make extra mucus to clear out the virus. After a few days, it might begin to turn white.
Causes Of Coughing Up Blood
Although hemoptysis can be frightening, most causes turn out not to be serious. Blood-streaked sputum is common in many minor respiratory illnesses, such as upper respiratory infections and viral bronchitis. Sometimes the cause is blood from the nose that has traveled down the throat and then is coughed up. Such blood is not considered hemoptysis.
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Causes Of Coughing Bloody Mucus
When people cough up bloody mucus, the most common causes are a chest infection or an ongoing cough, as with chronic bronchitis. However, there are other potential causes of coughing up blood or bloody mucus that you should know about. Here are some causes of hemoptysis:
Additionally, it is helpful to be aware that if you experience severe nosebleeds or significant bleeding from the mouth or throat, you may experience blood in your saliva when you cough.
About Coughing Up Blood
In up to one in five cases investigated, no cause is found for coughing up blood.
If you are coughing up blood, you may cough up:
- small amounts of bright red blood
- frothy blood-streaked sputum sputum is saliva and phlegm
The blood is usually from your lungs. Its often the result of coughing for long periods or a chest infection.
Mostly, if you cough up blood, the bleeding will stop on its own. In about five per cent of people the bleeding will be severe.
This bleeding can be life threatening – call 999 if this is happening.
If the blood is dark and contains bits of food or what looks like coffee grounds, it may be coming from your digestive system.
This may also be a serious problem. You should go to hospital straight away if you vomit up blood.
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Acute Bronchitis In Children
Acute bronchitis can develop in children of any age. Premature babies and children with asthma or allergies are especially susceptible. The symptoms of acute bronchitis in children, as well as the treatment methods, are generally the same as in adult cases. However, complications may present differently in children. Parents should seek immediate medical attention if any of the following symptoms occur:
- Breathing becomes difficult and wheezing occurs
- A child struggles to talk or eat
- A child experiences a fever of 38 degrees or higher, neck stiffness or headaches
- The lips or nails turn grey or blue
- A child is dizzy, confused, faints or finds waking up more difficult than usual
- Signs of dehydration, such as cracked lips, crying without tears or a dry mouth occur
- A fever disappears and then returns
- A childâs cough lasts for longer than three weeks
- Symptoms generally worsen
Breathing difficulties are especially likely to be apparent in younger children. There may be signs that the child is having trouble breathing, including flaring of the nostrils and clenching of the muscles in the ribs. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be developing acute bronchitis, get a free symptom assessment with the Ada app.
Home Remedies For Bronchitis
To manage the symptoms of acute bronchitis at home, it may also be helpful to:
- Rest this is vital in order to help the immune system regain its strength.
- Hydrate drinking plenty of water prevents dehydration, and may help to thin out the sputum in the chest, making it easier to cough up.
- Consume hot drinks and throat lozenges some people find that drinks such as tea with honey and over-the-counter lozenges can provide some relief from symptoms including coughing and sore throat.
- Inhale steam steam from a hot shower or through a towel over a bowl of hot water may help dislodge sputum and relieve symptoms.
Good to know: To avoid burns and scalds, make sure that children are supervised all the time when inhaling steam, and do not come into contact with any water which is hotter than they would normally bathe in.
Herbal remedies for bronchitis
Some people find certain herbal remedies helpful however, there is currently no strong medical evidence supporting their use. These include:
Good to know: Some herbal remedies and supplements cannot be taken with underlying conditions or certain prescription medications. If, in addition to their chest cold, a person has a chronic condition and/or regularly takes any medications, they should consult their doctor before using any natural products.
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How Is Coughing Up Blood Treated
Treatment for coughing up blood varies. Mild and temporary coughing up of blood can be treated by cough suppressants. However, if your coughing up of blood continues or worsens you should seek medical care.
Once the cause of coughing up blood is determined, your physician will talk with you about the best treatment plan that will address both your symptoms and the underlying condition. First, they may seek to stop the bleeding by embolizing a bleeding artery or through a bronchoscopy.
Surgery and cancer treatment may be required if it is discovered your condition is caused by a tumor. Antibiotics may be prescribed for pneumonia or tuberculosis. Steroids may be used to treat inflammation causing the bleeding.
If Oxygen Therapy Is Recommended Inogen Can Help
In cases of bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis, COPD or certain other lung diseases and breathing conditions, oxygen therapy may be prescribed to help make breathing easier and improve your quality of life. Depending on what is causing you to cough up bloody mucus, your doctor may suggest you use supplemental oxygen in conjunction with other medications, treatments or breathing and coughing techniques. If you required emergency care, you may receive supplemental oxygen in the hospital, or have it prescribed for home use. For patients who do not require hospitalization, or for patients who have been released from hospitalization, portable oxygen treatments can significantly improve your breathing so you can still participate in your regular activities. This can go a long way in allowing you to maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible, even with a chronic or debilitating condition.
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The Effects Of Pneumonia On The Body
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of pneumonia. Fungi can induce pneumonia, too. The infection causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs. This results in a buildup of fluid that makes it hard to breathe. Pneumonia can be a medical emergency, especially among high-risk groups like people over 65 and children 5 or younger.
Pneumonia typically affects the lungs, but complications can lead to problems in other areas of the body, too. These can be very serious and even deadly. Your risk, treatment, and recovery time depend on what caused the infection, your age, and any additional health issues you had before getting pneumonia.
Hemoptysis Diagnosis And Tests
If youâre coughing up blood, your doctor will do one or more of these:
- Medical history and physical exam . This helps them gather clues to identify the cause.
- Chest X-ray. This can show whether thereâs a mass in your chest or areas of fluid or congestion in your lungs.
- CT scan . With detailed images of the inside of your chest, this test may reveal some causes for coughing up blood.
- Bronchoscopy . Your doctor runs a flexible tube with a camera on its end, called a bronchoscope, through your nose or mouth and into your windpipe and airways.
- Complete blood count . This test checks the number of white and red blood cells in your blood, along with platelets .
- Urinalysis . Some causes of hemoptysis also show up on this simple urine test.
- Blood chemistry profile. This test measures electrolytes and how well your kidneys are working.
- Coagulation tests. Changes to your bloodâs ability to clot, or coagulate, can lead to bleeding and coughing up blood.
- Arterial blood gas. This test measures the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood. Oxygen levels can be low in people coughing up blood.
- Pulse oximetry. A probe tests the level of oxygen in your blood.
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What To Expect At Your Office Visit
In an emergency, your provider will give you treatments to control your condition. The provider will then ask you questions about your cough, such as:
- How much blood are you coughing up? Are you coughing up large amounts of blood at a time?
- Do you have blood-streaked mucus ?
- How many times have you coughed up blood and how often does it happen?
- How long has the problem been going on? Is it worse at some times such as at night?
- What other symptoms do you have?
The provider will do a complete physical exam and check your chest and lungs. Tests that may be done include:
- Bronchoscopy, a test to view the airways
When To Call The Doctor
Be prepared to describe to your doctor the following: onset of coughing up blood, amount of blood, any other accompanying symptoms. Dr. Choi
You should let your doctor know about any coughing up blood or bloody sputum.
You may receive additional tests, including blood tests, a chest X-ray or CT scan, sputum tests, an echocardiogram, or a lung function test. This is particularly important if you also experience fever or weight loss.
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What Is Coughing Up Blood
Coughing up blood refers to coughing or spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from your respiratory tract . It’s a common condition that can have many causes. Some of these conditions can be very serious.
Coughing up blood isn’t the same as vomiting blood. Blood that’s coughed up often looks bubbly and is mixed with mucus. It can be red or rust colored and is usually in small amounts. Vomiting blood refers to large quantities of blood being expelled from your mouth.
When Is Coughing Up Blood An Emergency
Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.
Coughing up blood, otherwise known as hemoptysis, can be very frightening. It can also be confusing at first. Is the blood truly coming from your lungs or could it be from a nosebleed, your esophagus, or from your stomach? While hemoptysis is the most specific symptom of lung cancer, it is more often due to a benign cause.
Let’s look at the possible causes, what may be done to diagnose the underlying problem, and the possible treatment options.We will also discuss when coughing up blood can be an emergency, but coughing up even small amounts of blood can be dangerous.
Coughing up a third of a cup of blood has a mortality rate of around 30%. If you have coughed up a teaspoon or more of blood, don’t wait to make an appointment. Call 911 now.
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