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 — a long-term condition that affects airways in the lungs.
  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) — the blanket term for a group of diseases that block airflow from the lungs — including emphysema.
  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. Obstructive sleep apnea (a condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep)
  17. Pneumonia — an infection in one or both lungs.
  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. Atrioventricular canal defect
  22. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  23. Bronchiolitis
  24. Bronchitis
  25. Carcinoid tumors
  26. Cardiac asthma: What causes it?
  27. Infographic: Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack
  28. Chronic cough
  29. COPD
  30. Cystic fibrosis
  31. What is cystic fibrosis? A Mayo Clinic expert explains
  32. Cystic fibrosis FAQs
  33. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  34. Dust mite allergy
  35. Food allergy
  36. Food allergy or intolerance?
  37. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  38. Heart failure
  39. Heart failure and sex: Is it safe?
  40. Holiday Heart
  41. Lung cancer
  42. Infographic: Lung Cancer
  43. Lung Cancer
  44. Lung nodules: Can they be cancerous?
  45. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
  46. Milk allergy
  47. Nasal Cleaning
  48. Neuroblastoma
  49. Ozone air purifiers
  50. Peanut allergy
  51. Pectus excavatum
  52. Pectus excavatum
  53. Penicillin allergy
  54. Pulmonary edema
  55. Pulmonary embolism
  56. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  57. Sarcoidosis
  58. Shellfish allergy
  59. Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
  60. Vascular rings
  61. Asthma attack video
  62. Dry powder disk inhaler
  63. Dry powder tube inhaler
  64. Video: How to use a peak flow meter
  65. Single-dose dry powder inhaler
  66. Using a metered dose asthma inhaler and spacer
  67. Vocal cord dysfunction
  68. Heart failure action plan
  69. What is aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD)?