What does the color of sputum mean
What is sputum
In the normal state, a person on the mucous membrane of the bronchi and trachea has transparent mucus, the so-called tracheobronchial secret. It is produced by the cells of the bronchial mucosa and performs important protective and cleansing functions, moisturizes the walls of the bronchi.
Due to the cilia located on the walls of the bronchi, this mucus moves to the throat. Along with it, microbes, dust, dead cells are removed in the airways. In addition, this secret has bactericidal properties due to the content of immune cells. When pathogens enter, these cells instantly react and destroy them.
When we are healthy, we simply swallow a small amount of tracheobronchial secretion, without even noticing it.
If an inflammatory process develops in the respiratory organs, the amount of mucus increases, pus, blood, leukocytes, mucus from the nose get into it, it becomes viscous, takes on color. It can be green, green-yellow, rusty, brownish, pink. This is phlegm.
The phlegm is released along with the cough, and may accumulate in the throat and in the absence of cough.
The accumulation of sputum warns that the respiratory system is not all right. By the same color sputum, judge the disease.
Sputum builds up, no cough
This happens with inflammatory diseases of ENT organs:
rhinitis, including vasomotor;
Sputum may accumulate after food has been removed.
A phlegm can also occur in a healthy person:
inhalation of air with a large number of foreign particles, for example in an industrial plant;
when eating spicy or very hot food – due to irritation of the throat;
Phlegm goes away with coughing
Such sputum indicates pathological phenomena that develop in the lungs or bronchi. These can be inflammatory processes (bronchiectasis, pneumonia, bronchitis), swelling, allergies, and congestion.
Of course, only by the presence of sputum, as well as by its color, an exact diagnosis cannot be made. Careful examination of the patient is necessary: sputum, blood, X-ray, MRI, CT, etc. But at least the assumption about the nature of the disease can be done.
Green or greenish-yellow color of sputum when coughing is characteristic of inflammation in the bronchi and lungs – acute bronchitis, pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection. In this case, the sputum is sticky and thick, due to the presence of pus.
Often such sputum appears after colds, flu. This is a sign that a bacterial infection has joined the viral infection.
The phlegm of green color speaks of catarrhal diseases.
As a rule, high temperature, weakness, shortness of breath are observed in these diseases.
Green and yellowish-green sputum departs during periods of exacerbation of bronchiectasis. With this chronic pathology, the bronchi are deformed and enlarged; a purulent process takes place in them.
Thick green sputum, accompanied by a stuffy nose, a weakening of the sense of smell, but without cough is characteristic of chronic sinusitis.
Phlegm green with pulmonary tuberculosis is observed if the period of remission.
Such mucus appears when bronchitis and pneumonia are complicated. With prolonged, more than a month, non-passing cough and sputum staining in yellow color can be suspected that the inflammatory disease becomes chronic.
Bright yellow coloring of sputum is characteristic of the so-called eosinophilic pneumonia, which is allergic in nature. In this situation, the yellow color of sputum is caused by a large number of eosinophils – one of the types of white blood cells.
Yellow phlegm occurs in smokers (bronchitis of smokers), tar and tobacco add shade to it.
The reddish color of the sputum gives blood. Sometimes it is possible to see red streaks in it, such secretions occur with unresolved, prolonged pneumonia, lung abscess, tuberculosis that has begun, and pleurisy. Reddish discharge – a serious symptom, an appeal to a specialist in these cases is vital.
With pneumonia, mokrat is red with streaks
This picture is observed when stagnant blood enters the mucus. Symptom in many cases, terrible. What is he warning about? Perhaps it is active tuberculosis, lung cancer, pulmonary embolism – pulmonary thromboembolism (blocking it with a blood clot), lung gangrene. Chronic pneumonia and bronchitis can give such a symptom.
But there may be not so serious causes of brown sputum, for example, blood can get into it from bleeding wounds in the mouth.
Sometimes brown sputum appears in smokers when bronchitis turns into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – COPD.
Sputum scarlet and pinkish color
Scarlet sputum gives a significant blood content. This is a symptom of lung cancer, pulmonary embolism.