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.

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. Ascariasis
  10. Aspergillosis
  11. Asthma
  12. Asthma and acid reflux
  13. Asthma attack
  14. Asthma diet
  15. Adult asthma action plan
  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. CAM asthma treatments
  22. Asthma and menstruation
  23. Asthma-friendly products
  24. Atrioventricular canal defect
  25. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  26. Barrel chest: What causes it?
  27. Heart Failure
  28. Bronchiolitis
  29. Bronchitis
  30. Can you use honey for allergies?
  31. Carcinoid tumors
  32. Cardiac asthma: What causes it?
  33. Infographic: Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack
  34. Chronic cough
  35. COPD
  36. COPD: Working with your doctor
  37. COPD: Protecting against flare-ups
  38. Safely exercising with COPD
  39. COPD: Breathing techniques
  40. Coping with COPD
  41. Cystic fibrosis
  42. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  43. Dust mite allergy
  44. Eating well with COPD
  45. Heart transplant to treat dilated cardiomyopathy: Elmo's story
  46. External Drive: Charles' Artificial Heart
  47. Food allergies: Labels
  48. Food allergy
  49. Food allergy later in life
  50. Food allergy or intolerance?
  51. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  52. Heart failure
  53. Heart failure and sex: Is it safe?
  54. Holiday Heart
  55. LABAs for asthma
  56. Living better with COPD
  57. Lung cancer
  58. Infographic: Lung Cancer
  59. Lung nodules: Can they be cancerous?
  60. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
  61. Milk allergy
  62. Nasal Cleaning
  63. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  64. Neuroblastoma
  65. Ozone air purifiers
  66. Peanut allergy
  67. Pectus excavatum
  68. Pectus Excavatum
  69. Penicillin allergy
  70. Photodynamic therapy: An effective treatment for lung cancer?
  71. Pulmonary edema
  72. Pulmonary embolism
  73. Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
  74. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  75. Sarcoidosis
  76. Shellfish allergy
  77. Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
  78. Trouble breathing
  79. Vascular rings
  80. Asthma attack video
  81. Dry powder disk inhaler
  82. Dry powder tube inhaler
  83. Peak flow video
  84. Single-dose dry powder inhaler
  85. Using a metered dose asthma inhaler and spacer
  86. Vocal cord dysfunction
  87. Heart failure action plan