Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling like sound made while breathing. Usually wheezing occurs during expiration (breathing out), but it can appear at inspiration (breathing in) as well.
Wheezing is a result of narrowing of the airways usually due to inflammation or by a physical obstruction. Wheezing is typically accompanied by difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. The narrowing of the airways can be caused by inflammation from asthma, a respiratory infection or an allergic reaction. A physical obstruction can be from a tumor or a foreign object present in the airways.
The most common cause of recurrent wheezing is asthma. Other possible causes of wheezing can include:
- Anaphylaxis – that is a very severe allergic reaction to allergenic triggers such as food, insect bite or medication
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Epiglottitis (inflammation of the "lid" of your windpipe)
- Foreign object in the airways
- GERD — Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Heart failure
- Lung cancer
- Medications such as aspirin
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Respiratory tract infection
- RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus)
- Sleep apnea
- Vocal cord dysfunction