When it comes to sputum, is everyone’s reaction disgusting and dirty? However, as a secretion of the body, it can reflect the health situation, especially when the weather gets cold, many people will have some cough and expectoration symptoms.
How can potential health problems be found through sputum? Health Headline (Micro Signal: Baojiandaifu) Let’s talk about the doorway.
Is it phlegm or saliva?
In fact, the problem is very simple. Think about whether we cough or clear our throat before spitting. Of course, sputum will inevitably mix with some saliva when it comes out of our mouth.
Sputum is mucus secreted by mucous membrane of respiratory tract (bronchus, trachea, throat, nose). When coughing and clearing throat, it becomes sputum.
Under normal circumstances, sputum is a protective measure for the body:
When the inhaled air is cold or dry, the respiratory tract can humidify and heat the inhaled air, and can also adsorb dust and toxic particles in the air on sputum. Eventually, by coughing and expectorating, [dirty things] are removed from the body, thus protecting the lungs.
Self-examination of these four points, found potential diseases
Normal people generally do not expectorate or have little sputum. Only a few people have a small amount of sputum after getting up in the morning, which is a normal phenomenon. In other cases, the following four points can be used to preliminarily judge whether it is normal or not.
1. The amount of sputum
In autumn and winter, when the respiratory tract is stimulated by cold air, a small amount of sputum will cough up. Most of this sputum is clear and water-like.
If you suffer from respiratory tract diseases, the sputum may be opaque while the sputum volume increases. For example, the sputum volume of patients with bronchiectasis will increase significantly.
2. Color of sputum
Normal sputum is clear and transparent in color, or grayish white.
If sputum is found to be red or bloodshot, we should be alert to the possibility of lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, bronchiectasis and other diseases.
The amount of hemoptysis caused by pulmonary tuberculosis can be more or less, and the less is manifested as blood in sputum, and the more is massive hemoptysis with bright red color. At the same time, tuberculosis patients often have fever, fatigue, emaciation and other manifestations.
However, the elderly who smoke for a long time should be more alert to the possibility of lung cancer if they cough red sputum or have bloodshot sputum.
Of course, oral ulcer, gingival hemorrhage or pharyngeal inflammation may also be manifested as sputum with blood. Attention should be paid to the difference at this time.
In addition, pink foam sputum may be acute pulmonary edema, rust sputum may be lobar pneumonia, pulmonary infarction, black or gray sputum may be caused by heavy smoking and coal pneumoconiosis.
3. Thin sputum
Patients with chronic bronchitis and bronchial asthma may cough up thin sputum, while patients with early bronchitis and pneumonia may cough up sticky sputum.
4. Taste of sputum
Under normal circumstances, sputum has no special smell. If sputum has foul smell, it may be lung abscess and bronchiectasis. If sputum has fecal foul smell, it may be lung Escherichia coli infection.
There are many more functions of sputum.
In addition to observing sputum volume, color, smell and other abnormalities, sputum has many uses in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Let’s take tuberculosis as an example to give you a specific analysis of other functions of sputum.
1. Judge whether tuberculosis patients are infectious or not
Many friends think that [TB patients are infectious and will transmit TB to others], but this is not the case.
Tuberculosis is mainly transmitted by droplets (which can be understood as mist sputum), while some tuberculosis patients do not have tuberculosis bacilli in sputum, so tuberculosis will not be transmitted to others.
However, doctors can know whether there are tuberculosis bacilli in sputum through an experiment called sputum smear, thus judging whether tuberculosis patients are infectious.
2. Helping to Choose Better TB Drugs
Some TB patients no longer use common anti-TB drugs. This phenomenon is what doctors often call [drug resistance].
At this time, the tuberculosis bacilli in sputum can be cultured and tested to know which drug is more suitable for tuberculosis patients, thus improving the cure rate of tuberculosis.