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Wheezing sound on exhaling results from the air passing through narrow airways in other words airflow through constricted or blocked airways. Anything that blocks airways can cause wheezing. Most commonly wheezing is caused by inflammation, congestion of the airways or a physical obstruction, such as a tumor or an inhaled foreign object.

Possible causes

o Asthma

In Asthma the airways swell and produce extra mucus these result in narrowing of the airways. Breathing becomes difficult and associated with wheezing sound, coughing and shortness of breath. Asthma could be a minor issue in some people, but it can be a major problem that interferes with daily life and sometimes even causing a life-threatening attacks.

The severity and frequency of Asthma attacks vary widely from person to person. Asthma symptoms include: coughing or wheezing, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping resulted from shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain.

Some situations may induce asthma attack in some people: exercise, especially when the air is cold and dry. Occupational asthma, allergy to workplace chemical fumes, dust or gas. Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by pollen, pet dander or cockroaches. There is no cure for Asthma; treatment can control its symptoms.

o Bronchiectasis

In this lung condition there is abnormal thickening of the airways and decrease in the ability of mucus clearing.

o Bronchiolitis

This condition is common in young children.

o COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a condition that blocks airflow. This condition is commonly caused by smoking. It is important to know that COPD causes damage to the lungs that can't be reversed, and treatment can only help control symptoms and slow the progress of the disease.

o Heart failure

Weak heart is not able to pump all the blood that's why blood build up in the veins of lungs then fluids start to build up in the lungs themselves resulting in airway swelling that resemble the swelling from Asthma and may present with wheezing that increases during lying flat. Heart failure often present with shortness of breath during exercise or on going up the stairs. Another possible symptom is shortness of breath when lying flat.

o Lung cancer

Usually presents with new cough, change in the pattern of old cough or shortness of breath. Sometimes the cancer mass partially blocks an airway resulting in wheezing sound. It is important to mention that lung cancer is a rare cause of wheezing. Lung cancer has very high mortality rate because it is usually diagnosed late.

o Emphysema

o Inhalation of foreign object

o GERD

o Medication side effects, especially Aspirin.

o Smoking

o Vocal cord dysfunction

A problem in vocal cords movement resulting in obstruction of the airflow.

o Allergic anaphylaxis

This severe allergic reaction results in swelling of the airways and blockage of the airflow.

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