ZocdocAnswersWhy am I coughing up black stuff?

Question

Why am I coughing up black stuff?

I have been a smoker for about 5 years and I just quit smoking pot and cigerettes 2 months ago. I didn't have a "smokers cough" nor did I start coughing up black stuff until i quit. I dont have medical insurance and I have an extremely low income. I need to know how serious this is and what exactly am I coughing up?

Answer

I just wanted to start off by congratulating you on quitting cigarettes and pot. You have been smoking for several years which puts you at risk for many medical diseases. Not all smokers have a "smokers cough". You most certainly don't need to have a cough to have something serious. You mentioned that you are coughing up "black stuff". "Black stuff" could be a sign of old blood. The blood could be coming from anywhere in the lung to the mouth. Smoking can damage the lining of the lung and cause cancer, which can lead to bleeding. I am not saying that you have cancer but your smoking history, and coughing up black stuff is concerning. It may not be blood at all; however, your history is enough to see a physician as soon as possible. Your situation also is a little challenging because you do not have health insurance. You can apply for medicaid or visit an ED to ask for help in coordinating these services. Another possibility is tuberculosis if you are indeed coughing up blood. Tuberculosis is a treatable infectious that is contagious. It is spread by air in crowded places. You should talk to a physician about taking a sample of the "black stuff" and testing it for signs of malignant cells and tuberculosis. They most likely will also get a chest x-ray. Please speak with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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