Inflammation and narrowing of the airway in any location, from your throat out into your lungs, can result in wheezing.

The most common causes of recurrent wheezing are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which both cause narrowing and spasms (bronchospasms) in the small airways of your lungs.

However, any inflammation in your throat or larger airways can cause wheezing. Common causes include infection, an allergic reaction or a physical obstruction, such as a tumor or a foreign object that's been inhaled.

All of the following conditions can lead to wheezing:

  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 (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation — worsening of symptoms
  9. Emphysema
  10. Epiglottitis (swelling of the "lid" of your windpipe)
  11. Foreign object inhaled: First aid
  12. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  13. Heart failure
  14. Lung cancer
  15. Medications (particularly aspirin)
  16. Sleep apnea, obstructive (a condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep)
  17. Pneumonia
  18. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — especially in young children
  19. Respiratory tract infection (especially in children younger than 2)
  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.

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Jan. 11, 2018

See also

  1. Acute bronchitis: Is it contagious?
  2. Albuterol side effects
  3. Allergies
  4. Allergies and asthma
  5. Allergy medications: Know your options
  6. Allergy-proof your home
  7. Alpha-gal syndrome
  8. Anaphylaxis
  9. Anaphylaxis: First aid
  10. Ascariasis
  11. Aspergillosis
  12. Asthma
  13. Asthma and acid reflux
  14. Asthma attack
  15. Asthma diet
  16. Asthma inhalers: Which one's right for you?
  17. Asthma: Colds and flu
  18. Asthma medications
  19. Asthma: Testing and diagnosis
  20. Asthma treatment: 3 steps
  21. Asthma treatment: Do complementary and alternative approaches work?
  22. Atrioventricular canal defect
  23. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  24. Bronchiolitis
  25. Bronchitis
  26. Carcinoid tumors
  27. Cardiac asthma: What causes it?
  28. Infographic: Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack
  29. Chronic cough
  30. COPD
  31. Cystic fibrosis
  32. What is cystic fibrosis? A Mayo Clinic expert explains
  33. Cystic fibrosis FAQs
  34. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  35. Does honey offer sweet relief for allergies?
  36. Dust mite allergy
  37. Food allergy
  38. Food allergy or intolerance?
  39. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  40. Heart failure
  41. Heart failure and sex: Is it safe?
  42. Holiday Heart
  43. Lung cancer
  44. Infographic: Lung Cancer
  45. Lung nodules: Can they be cancerous?
  46. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
  47. Milk allergy
  48. Nasal Cleaning
  49. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  50. Neuroblastoma
  51. Ozone air purifiers
  52. Peanut allergy
  53. Pectus excavatum
  54. Pectus excavatum
  55. Penicillin allergy
  56. Photodynamic therapy: An effective treatment for lung cancer?
  57. Pulmonary edema
  58. Pulmonary embolism
  59. Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
  60. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  61. Sarcoidosis
  62. Shellfish allergy
  63. Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
  64. Vascular rings
  65. Asthma attack video
  66. Dry powder disk inhaler
  67. Dry powder tube inhaler
  68. Video: How to use a peak flow meter
  69. Single-dose dry powder inhaler
  70. Using a metered dose asthma inhaler and spacer
  71. Vocal cord dysfunction
  72. Heart failure action plan
  73. What is aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD)?