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Overview

Wheezing is characterized by a scratchy, high-pitched whistling sound that occurs during inhalation and exhalation. When you breathe, you notice a loud, abrasive whistling or rattling sound, which indicates that the airway is partially blocked.

Wheezing that occurs during air exhalation is referred to as expiratory wheezing. Inspiratory wheezing occurs when you take a deep breath. When a person wheezes during exhalation, it is more likely that they have a tiny obstruction producing the wheezing.

While specific wheezes must be recognized using a stethoscope, the majority may be caught with the human ear. Exhalation creates more obvious wheeze than inhalation. When breathed, however, wheezing may be heard. The wheeze may have a range of tones depending on whatever component of the respiratory system is obstructed or inhibited. A worsening in the constriction of the upper respiratory system may generate a hoarser wheeze. Lower impediments may have a more melodic tone, similar to how a clarinet could sound in certain circumstances.

Wheezing may affect people of all ages, from babies to the elderly. Children who already have asthma are at a higher risk of developing it. Wheezing is fairly common in infants.

Since neonates’ airways are so thin, they are more prone to wheezing. Furthermore, infants under the age of two are vulnerable to bronchiolitis, a common but treatable infection. Adult smokers, as well as individuals suffering from emphysema or heart failure, are more prone to wheezing.

Hay fever is usually connected with wheezing, as many people with respiratory allergies may experience wheezing during this condition. This illness may arise as a consequence of respiratory issues such as severe bronchitis. COPD and asthma are also common causes of lung sickness.

Wheezing may be managed in a number of ways. If you have severe allergies, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or COPD, your doctor should keep a close check on your health. A specialist, such as an allergist or a pulmonologist, may also be required.

Causes

Respiratory Conditions: An obstruction i.e. blockage or constriction of the chest’s tiny bronchial airways is a common cause of wheezing. A blockage in the bigger airways or voice cords may also be the cause of this symptom. The reasons for this vary from chronic (long-term) disorders like asthma to life-threatening conditions like heart failure. Asthma is a chronic ailment that may be managed easily.

Crackles in the lungs occur when air sacs in the lungs fill with fluid and there is any movement of air inside the sacs. In such cases, a crackling sound is generated. When a person has pneumonia or suffers from heart failure, the air sacs swell and fill with fluid. Wheezing occurs when the bronchial passages get inflamed and constricted.

Lung abnormalities, which include the following, are the most prevalent causes of wheezing:

·         Asthma episodes cause bronchial spasms and edema, both of which may be deadly. Pollen, mildew, animals, and household dust, among other allergens in the air, may aggravate asthma and induce wheezing in individuals who already suffer from it. Asthma symptoms may also be aggravated by viral infections.

·         Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial passages. It affects people of all ages.

·         COPD is a chronic inflammatory and degenerative illness of the bronchial lining that is mostly caused by cigarette smoking. It can cause coughing and wheezing.

Other lung conditions that cause wheezing cough include cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis. Pneumonia is also associated with a wheezy chest.

Vocal cord dysfunction:When you breathe in and out, it causes the vocal cords to shut rather than open, making it more difficult to get air into or out of the lungs. This may cause wheezing.

Smoking:Smoking raises the chances of getting COPD or emphysema. Asthma is made more difficult to cure by smoking and passive smoke.

Certain allergies and heart conditions also cause wheezing.

When to see a doctor

If you experience unexplained wheezing, wheezing that comes back on a regular basis i.e. recurrent wheeze, or wheezing that is accompanied by any of the following signs and symptoms, see your doctor.

·         Trouble or fast breathing

·         Rapid inhalation and exhalation

·         Bluish skin

·         Loss of voice

·         Coughing

·         Chest tightness

Mild wheezing linked with cold or upper respiratory infection symptoms may not necessarily need medical attention. However, you should get medical help if you have significant breathing problems or a blue skin tone. Blue skin, lips, and nails indicate that the lungs are not receiving enough oxygen. This is a medical emergency, and you should see a doctor.

If you start wheezing after being stung by a bee, taking a new drug, or eating a new meal, it might be a sign of an allergic response, and you should seek immediate medical attention.

Some drugs or the use of an inhaler may help relieve wheezing difficulties in rare situations. In certain cases, you may need immediate medical care.