Q:

Why am I coughing up white foamy phlegm?

A:

Quick Answer

A cough that produces white, foamy phlegm is a possible symptom of heart failure, states Harvard Medical School. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood for the body to function properly, explains the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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Full Answer

Heart failure often shows up when people have a history of heart disease, according to Harvard Medical School. These patients typically cough more when lying down; many of them sleep propped up by pillows. At times, heart failure causes a dry cough. However, pinkish foamy sputum is also a symptom of heart failure, notes Mayo Clinic.

Other symptoms that suggest heart failure include swelling in the abdomen, legs, ankles or feet, explains Mayo Clinic. People feel generally weak and fatigued. They are no longer able to maintain their previous levels of exercise. Exertion brings on shortness of breath, which also appears when lying down. There is sometimes a sudden weight gain, but it is the result of fluid retention. In fact, many people with heart failure lose their appetite and feel nauseated. The pulse is accelerated or irregular. They also have trouble concentrating and are less attentive. In addition, there are more frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.

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