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thanks for your question.
rusty colored sputum should be taken seriously.
this can be commonly caused by an infection like bacterial or viral infection.
if you have history of smoking, this can also contribute to it.
other causes can be fragile blood vessels in your airways.
Chronic obstructive lung disease also can cause this.
if you are on blood thinning medications, that is another cause.
The low risk of malignancy should not be ignored.
i will suggest you to see your doctor for a clinical evaluation and chest imaging studies ( Xrays to start with).
Most likely this may turn out to be an infection which can be treated with antibiotics.
Thanks for all the information.
antidepressants can cause bleeding and hence rusty sputum is possible.
given the history of autoimmune disorder, this also can affect the lungs.
hence, you need further work up with Xrays, CT scan, and also a bronchoscopy if deemed necessary.
For all this work up, you are better off seeing a lung specialist ( Pulmonologist).
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i am again sympathetic to your cause.
this is frustrating. but sometimes, a diagnosis may remain elusive especially autoimmune disorders. there are so much overlap, hence classical diagnosis of one condition may not be possible in some cases like yours.
but, what looks like it, what sounds like it, then it must be it.
autoimmune disorders can affect the lungs causing rusty sputum.
it is challenging to find a best treatment, but patience and coordinated care may be the answer to your frustration.
at this point, you should see a lung specialist to address this sputum issue.