What Are the Causes of Wheezing?

Written by cicely a. richard
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The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines wheezing as a condition in which people release high-pitched whistling noises as they breathe. Wheezing happens because something is hampering airflow in the breathing tubes. Sometime, people wheeze due to temporary respiratory conditions. However, most of the causes of wheezing signal that problems are developing in the respiratory system.

Colds and Allergies

Colds and allergies cause wheezing because of upper airway constriction. These causes of wheezing, however, are temporary and corrected by medications that open airways.


The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that asthma causes wheezing because of a narrowing of the air passage.


Bronchitis is one of the causes of wheezing because the scarring of the bronchial tubes and the excessive build-up of mucus makes it difficult to breathe.


The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says that COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, causes wheezing because this progressive disease causes the air sacs to lose elasticity and causes a thick mucus build-up in the airways.

Pulmonary Edema

People suffering from pulmonary oedema, usually caused by heart failure, wheeze because of a fluid build-up in their lungs.


An article published by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine says that obesity causes wheezing because the excess body mass places pressure on the lungs, reducing their ability to produce enough air. Wheezing is especially noted when obese patients sleep.

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