Crackling Sound While Breathing


Are your lungs making a crackling sound by breathing? If you notice a wheezing or crackling sound when you exhale and inhale as you breathe- it may be worrisome. However, sometimes there are just normal sounds the lungs make when there is an excess of mucus or not serious conditions that cause it. Even if you think it is just normal, there are certain other symptoms that can give you a better idea of whether or not the cracking sound while breathing is a sign of something more serious.


Crackling Sound While Breathing: The Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Any conditions, chronic or temporary can cause a rattle or crackling sound while breathing. However, the symptoms qualify in so many circumstances to all more serious issues- that it is of key importance that you understand both, each- the good and the bad that can be associated with crackling sounds while breathing.

#1 Cause of crackling while you breathe: Pneumonia

Pneumonia is nothing to play with! It can be contracted by a virus and bacterial matter, Both are serious conditions that are associated with a high fatality rate. However, once you hear a crackling in your lungs, or are coughing up green, bloody, yellow, or discolored phlegm from your lungs, you should consult with a doctor immediately.

Especially, when the crackle sound is associated with the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • No cough present-ot a present cough vanishes
  • Cough of blood, Phlegm of green, black,  grey, brown, yellow color
  • Excessive coughing
  • Problems breathing
  • Pain when exhaling and inhaling
  • Headache
  • Bone shaking chills
  • Chest pain (localized or referred)
  • Body aches, pain, muscle pain, joint pain
  • Excessive sweating


Treatments of pneumonia, depend upon the severity of the medical condition. Your doctor can determine whether or not you have viral or bacterial pneumonia by taking a few xrays along with blood tests. The treatment for pneumonia depends on the severity and the cause itself.

Pneumonia can be fatal is left untreated. The best thing you can do is notice the signs symptoms and get immediate help upon the recognition of the major signs and symptoms. In the case of pneumonia the sooner the better that you seek medical attention.

#2 Cause of Crackling Sound While You Breathe: Asthma

Asthma is an illness that happens for many reasons. It is usually chronic and sometimes can prove fatal when left un-diagnosed and unprepared for (inhalers.) Asthma occurs when there is an excess production of mucus, when the bronchi in the lungs swell and constrict the airway.

Symptoms That Present

  • Heavy, tight feeling in chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing when inhaling or exhaling
  • Crackling sound while breathing
  • Coughing
  • Purple/Blue lips from lack of oxygen in major attacks

Treatment for Asthma

It is important that you know that asthma cannot be cured. However, it can be controlled by medication, and other protocols including:

  • Using Allergy efficient filters and air cleaners in the home
  • Watch asthma in cold weather, cover your mouth
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Find out the triggers of your asthma and avoid them
  • Always have your emergency inhaler on hand

#3 Cause of crackling while you breathe: Bronchitis

Bronchitis is where the bronchial tubes in your lungs become irritated and inflamed. There are two types of bronchitis: acute or chronic. You can get acute bronchitis when you have an underlying infection causing it. This results in wheezing and often a crackling sound while breathing. Chronic bronchitis is something that is persistent and commonly is most associated with smoking cigarettes.

Symptoms that Present:

  • Wheezing or crackling sounds
  • Heavy feeling or sensation in chest
  • Hoarse voice or laryngitis
  • Sometimes fever, malaise, and headache
  • Sharp or dull chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment For Bronchitis

Bronchitis can be treated by several methods including:

  • Steroids to reduce the inflammation
  • Antibiotics to treat any underlying infections
  • Recommendation for cessation smoking aids
  • Pulmonary therapy (Respiratory therapy)
  • Breathing treatments (medication variable)
  • Use of a humidifier
  • Rest and drinking plenty of fluids
  • Inhaler or allergy medications

#4 Cause of crackling while you breathe: Pulmonary Edema

Fluid build-up in the air sac’s of your lungs can cause the condition known as Pulmonary Edema. Pulmonary edema is brought about by such root causes such as infection, medication, heart failure, and more.

Symptoms that Present 

  • Crackling sound while breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Disorientation, confusion, anxiety
  • Pale skin

Treatment For Pulmonary Edema

  • Medication
  • Hospitalization
  • Possible Chest Tube Insertion
  • Low Salt Diet
  • Blood Pressure Control

#5 Cause of cracking while you breathe: Emphysema

Emphysema is condition that is destructive to the air sacs in the lungs. It can cause a crackling sound in the lungs while you breathe. One of the major causes of this very bad disease, is the use of cigarettes. Emphysema also results in one not getting enough oxygen.

  • Problems with breathing
  • Blue/purple lips
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or crackling, popping sounds while breathing

Treatment For Emphysema

The damage caused by Emphysema is irreparable. As it worsens symptoms also get more severe. Some treatments that help slow down the damage this disease causes and to alleviate the symptoms that are uncomfortable are:

  • Cessation of smoking
  • Avoid exposure to cleaners, scents, perfumes, and other air pollutants
  • Steroids either orally or distributed through breathing apparatus
  • Inhalers that aid in opening the airways
  • Antibiotics to prevent infections or to cure them
  • Pulmonary rehab
  • Permanent oxygen administration (supplementation)


#6 Cause of cracking while you breathe: Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is originated in the lungs. One of the main risks that cause this type of cancer is smoking. However, you could be a non-smoker and still contract it. Cancer cells (tumors) can grow and expand in the lungs which cause many symptoms including that of crackling sound while breathing.

Symptoms that Present:

  • General unwell feeling
  • Hard time breathing
  • Cough that will not go away
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood

Sometimes there are no signs that present when a person has lung cancer and by the time the symptoms do show up and are noticeable the cancer has already increased in stage or severity. There are many treatments for lung cancer including:

  • Surgery to remove the cancerous part of the lung
  • Chemotherapy/Radiation
  • Recommendation to Quit Smoking
  • Other medications
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Breathing treatments

Crackling Sound While Breathing: Conclusion

A crackling sound while breathing should be checked out if it is occurring or has occurred more than a few days. If it comes and goes and there is no fever, cough, too much pain or other more sever symptoms associated with it- it could be just something minor that can be treated with avoidance of smoking, rest, antibiotics or inhalers. However, for more severe cases of crackling sound while breathing the physician may have to perform more tests to determine if it could be a condition such as pulmonary edema, lung cancer, and more.


  1. Last 18 months had fine crackling sounds at night also wheezing . Every morning cough up brown phlem. Also heavy feeling in chest. Worked for 7 years in esbestos environment. Always suffered with chest.

    • You have worked in an environment that was hazardous to your health. Speak with a medical professional at this time. Make an appointment with a medical professional as soon as possible. You may find benefit in speaking with an emergency medical professional. Best of luck, David!


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