A wheezing cough indicates narrowing or obstruction in the airways. Asthma is just one of many causes.
The most important things at a glance
Cough can have very different characteristics and can be accompanied by different accompanying symptoms. For example, it may be dry or associated with phlegm. You may also hear sounds when breathing, such as crackles, murmurs, or wheezing.
A cough with a clearly audible wheezing — especially in connection with shortness of breath — can indicate an emergency. Therefore, those affected should seek medical advice immediately and, if in doubt, alert emergency services (112).
Wheezing cough – a cough that occurs with wheezing – is a sign of narrowing of the airways due to various reasons. Depending on the cause, wheezing may be heard on inhalation and/or exhalation and can be of varying degrees of volume. You can give your doctor information about the possible cause by listening with a stethoscope.
What is the meaning of a wheezing cough?
Experts point to loud whistling or hissing sounds when inhaling and exhaling that are clearly audible from the outside squeak. Stridor often occurs when the central upper airways narrow in the area around the larynx and windpipe. Causes include, for example, inhalation of a foreign body or false croup in children.
Squealing – a clearly audible whistling sound – should be explained. If this occurs with shortness of breath, it is an emergency.
The (quieter) whistling noise is whistling or zoom. It usually occurs only when exhaling and appears when listening to the lungs. Wheezing is usually caused by narrowing of the lower airways in the lungs. The cause is often asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): both diseases are associated with narrowing and spasms of the airways in the lungs. Acute bronchitis can sometimes cause wheezing.
Wheezing cough: its causes are in the upper respiratory tract
If a wheezing cough is caused by an obstruction in the upper airways, possible causes may include:
- False noose
- Inhalation of foreign bodies
- Cysts and tumors
- Problems with the vocal cords
- Allergic reaction
- Some congenital heart diseases
It can easily happen, especially with children, that they do this accidentally weird body Inhaling objects that block the airway, such as small parts of toys. Then, among other things, shortness of breath and wheezing can be heard.
False noose It occurs in young children when the larynx becomes inflamed as a result of the common cold. This leads to a barking cough, whistling sounds when inhaling, hoarseness, and mild shortness of breath. False croup usually goes away on its own, but medication is necessary if symptoms persist or are severe. Here you can read more about it.
Cough with wheezing is rare in this country diphtheria Because most people are vaccinated against it. In croup, the upper respiratory tract becomes inflamed with bacteria. The larynx and larynx are particularly affected. Diphtheria can be life-threatening.
Wheezing cough: its causes are in the lower respiratory tract
A wheezing cough caused by narrowing of the lower airways is often caused by conditions such as:
- Bronchial asthma
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- In children: acute bronchiolitis
In people with Bronchial asthma Temporary or permanent narrowing of the airways. The narrowing causes symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms often occur intermittently. The associated shortness of breath can be mild or severe. Other possible symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, especially during physical exertion, and a feeling of tightness in the chest.
A cough accompanied by wheezing or buzzing is often the only symptom of asthma, especially in children.
when Chronic pulmonary obstruction (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD) The airways are permanently narrowed. Lung function gradually deteriorates. COPD develops gradually over many years and is usually the result of chronic bronchitis. Smokers in particular are often affected.
Signs of COPD include long-lasting cough, phlegm production and shortness of breath, which can occur during physical activity, but also at rest. When you exhale, you may also hear sounds such as whistling or buzzing. Another possible symptom is chest tightness.
There is no cure for COPD, but with proper treatment its progression can be stopped or slowed. You can find detailed information about COPD here.
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