What does the color of sputum mean?
What is sputum
In a normal state, a person has transparent mucus on the bronchial mucosa and trachea, the so-called tracheobronchial secretion. It is produced by 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. Together with it, microbes, dust, dead cells that have fallen into the respiratory tract are removed. In addition, this secret has bactericidal properties due to the content of immune cells. When pathogenic microorganisms 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 system, the amount of mucus increases, pus, blood, white blood cells, mucous discharge from the nose get into it, it becomes viscous, acquires a color. It can be green, green-yellow, rusty, brownish, pink. This is sputum.
Sputum is excreted along with a cough, and can accumulate in the throat and in the absence of cough.
The accumulation of sputum warns that not everything is in order with the respiratory system. According to the same color of sputum, a disease is judged.
Sputum accumulates, no cough
This happens with inflammatory diseases of the ENT organs:
rhinitis, including vasomotor;
Sputum may accumulate after food is removed.
Sputum can appear in a healthy person:
when inhaling air with a large amount of foreign particles, for example, in an industrial enterprise;
when eating spicy or very hot food – due to irritation of the throat;
Sputum goes away with a cough
Such sputum indicates pathological phenomena that develop in the lungs or bronchi. It can be inflammatory processes (bronchiectasis, pneumonia, bronchitis), swelling, allergies, congestion.
Of course, only by the presence of sputum, as well as by its color, an accurate diagnosis cannot be made. A thorough examination of the patient is necessary: sputum, blood, X-ray, MRI, CT, etc. But at least an assumption about the nature of the disease can be made.
The 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, 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.
Sputum green indicates colds
As a rule, with these diseases there is a high temperature, weakness, shortness of breath.
Green and yellowish-green sputum leaves during periods of exacerbation of bronchiectasis. With this chronic pathology, the bronchi are deformed and expanded, a purulent process proceeds in them.
Thick green sputum, accompanied by a stuffy nose, weakening of smell, but without coughing is characteristic of chronic sinusitis.
Sputum of green color with pulmonary tuberculosis is observed if a period of remission occurs.
Such mucus appears with complicated bronchitis and pneumonia. With a long, more than a month, persistent cough and staining of sputum in yellow, it can be suspected that the inflammatory disease becomes chronic.
The bright yellow color 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.
Sputum is yellow in smokers (bronchitis of smokers), resin and tobacco give it a shade.
Reddish sputum gives blood. Sometimes red veins can be seen in it, such discharge occurs with untreated, protracted pneumonia, lung abscess, tuberculosis that has begun, and pleurisy. Reddish discharge is a serious symptom, contacting a specialist in these cases is vital.
With pneumonia, the mokrata is red with veins
This pattern is observed when stagnant blood enters the mucus. The symptom in many cases is formidable. What is he warning about? Perhaps this is active tuberculosis, lung cancer, pulmonary embolism – pulmonary embolism (blocking it with a thrombus), lung gangrene. Chronic pneumonia, bronchitis can give such a symptom.
But not so serious causes of brown sputum are possible, for example, blood can get into it from bleeding wounds in the mouth.
Sometimes brown sputum appears in smokers when bronchitis passes into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – COPD.
Sputum scarlet and pinkish
The red color of sputum gives a significant blood content. This is a symptom of lung cancer, pulmonary embolism.
Dense pink sputum occurs in severe stages of tuberculosis.