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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Noisy Breathing in Adults
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)

Noisy Breathing in Adults

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Noisy breathing in adults is a common condition, usually caused by a blockage in the air passages.

What is going on in the body?

Noisy breathing generally occurs when a blockage somewhere in the breathing passages produces abnormal airflow. The blockage can be anywhere from the mouth to deep inside the lungs. Noisy breathing may be harmless or a life-threatening condition.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

There are many causes of noisy breathing in adults, including:

  • anatomic defects or conditions, such as a deviated nasal septum, which divides the two nostrils unequally
  • respiratory infections, such as influenza or flu, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, and the common cold
  • asthma, a condition that results in reversible narrowing of the airways
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis
  • smoking, which can cause COPD, a hoarse voice, and a "smoker's cough"
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease, which occurs when stomach contents go backward. Stomach acid may flow backward all the way up into the throat and mouth and affect breathing.
  • sleep apnea, a condition that results in a blockage of the airway in the throat during sleep. This is also a common cause of snoring.
  • lung cancer or throat cancer, which can partially or fully block the airways
  • nervous system problems or damage, which may affect the ability to breathe. An example is paralysis of a vocal cord from a stroke, or brain attack.
  • heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure, which can cause an accumulation of fluid in the lungs
  • other lung conditions, such as inflammation of the lungs from autoimmune disorders. These are conditions in which a person's immune system attacks his or her own body.
  • Other causes are also possible.


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    Noisy Breathing in Adults: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 07/27/01

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