Heart attack symptoms: Mucus which resembles this colour could mean you’re at risk

Heart attacks happen when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked due to a build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the arteries. The symptoms that accompany this process can be quite startling and if you see a certain colour mucus or phlegm, you could be in danger.

Sputum, phlegm or mucus – whatever you prefer to refer to it as – the colour can often indicate underlying issues in the body.

Seeing blood-tinged mucus can be a warning sign that something is not right with the heart.

Blood-tinged mucus or phlegm occurs when the sputum has visible streaks of blood in it.

The blood comes from somewhere along the respiratory tract inside the body and should not be ignored.

The American Heart Association said: “Persistent coughing or wheezing which produces white or pink blood-tinged mucus is a warning sign.

“Blood backs up in the pulmonary veins (the vessels that return blood from the lungs to the heart) because the heart can’t keep up with the supply.

“This causes fluid to leak into the lungs producing this colour mucus.”

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What is hemoptysis?

The condition is when a person coughs up blood from the lungs.

It can be a sign of a serious medical condition including problems with your heart.

Unless a person has bronchitis, they will need to see a doctor if coughing up blood as it could be something very serious.

Hemoptysis is divided into types based on how much blood is coughed up in 24 hours.

Heart failure can be ongoing (chronic), or your condition may start suddenly (acute), explained the Mayo Clinic.

The health site continued heart failure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling in your legs, ankles and feet
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm

Treatments for blood-tinged mucus

Treating blood-tinged mucus will rely on treating the underlying condition which is causing it.

In some cases, treatment can also involve reducing inflammation or other related symptoms a person may be experiencing.

Treatments could include:

  • Oral antibiotics
  • Antivirals
  • Cough suppressants
  • Drink more water
  • Surgery

For those who are coughing up large amounts of blood, treatment focuses on stopping the bleeding and determining if there is any foreign material stuck in the lungs causing the bleeding.

It’s important to carefully monitor any other warning signs of a heart condition and to speak to your GP about the possible cause. 

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