Wheezing results from a narrowing of the airways and typically indicates some difficulty breathing. The narrowing of the airways can be caused by inflammation from asthma, an infection, an allergic reaction, or by a physical obstruction, such as a tumor or a foreign object that's been inhaled.

The most common cause of recurrent wheezing is asthma. Possible causes of wheezing include:

  1. Allergies
  2. Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction, such as to an insect bite or medication)
  3. Asthma
  4. Bronchiectasis, a chronic lung condition in which abnormal widening of bronchial tubes inhibits mucus clearing
  5. Bronchiolitis (especially in young children)
  6. Bronchitis
  7. Childhood asthma
  8. COPD
  9. Emphysema
  10. Epiglottitis (swelling of the "lid" of your windpipe)
  11. Foreign object inhaled
  12. GERD — Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  13. Heart failure
  14. Lung cancer
  15. Medications (particularly aspirin)
  16. Pneumonia
  17. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (especially in young children)
  18. Respiratory tract infection (especially in children younger than 2)
  19. Sleep apnea, obstructive (a condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep)
  20. Smoking
  21. Vocal cord dysfunction (a condition that affects vocal cord movement)

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Apr. 10, 2014