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A wheeze is a continuous, coarse, whistling sound produced in the respiratory airways during breathing.
It's the sound old men make, in between lecherous jokes.
Wheeze is caused by the smooth muscles in bronchioles closing up. This achieves two things.
- It makes it harder to make air go through them, thus making it harder to breathe.
- It makes the air whistle through it, making a wheezy noise.
Clinical and Associated FeaturesMedical Emergency - Emergency shortness of breath. If wheeze is really bad, you might get hypoxic and start to die.
Commonly with wheeze you get:
- Drugs - beta-blockers can cause wheeze, and shouldn't be given to asthma sufferers!
- Pulmonary oedema
- Anaphylaxis - this can be life threatening, so know about it!