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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Wheezing

02/04/2008

Question:

why do I only here wheezing in my lungs when I get up in the mornings after I sleep and then it goes away minutes after I have been walking around? what is causing this? yes I do smoke.

Answer:

Wheezing in the morning can be due to several things. The most common is chronic bronchitis due to cigarette smoking. With chronic bronchitis, the windpipes produce an unusually large amount of mucus which can build up at night when a person sleeps. In the morning, this can result in cough and wheeze until the person is able to bring up all of the mucus and debris from the lung; the treatment for this is to stop smoking.

A second cause can be from daytime medications wearing off at night. For example, if a person uses an inhaler such as albuterol, it wears off after a few hours resulting in a patient having more wheezing and cough first thing in the morning; the treatment for this is to use a long-acting inhaler that works throughout the night.

A third cause is allergy to something in the bedroom such as dust mites; the treatment is to eliminate exposure to dust mites by laundering the linen in hot water weekly and placing a plastic mattress cover over the mattress.

A fourth cause is esophageal reflux (acid reflux) that can be made worse by laying flat for a long period of time (for example, while sleeping); the treatment for that is to use medications that treat reflux, elevate the head of the bed, and avoid eating foods in the evening that can worsen reflux.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University