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Throat closes can't breathe
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Throat closes can't breathe

I am a 62 yr old man. When I was 17 I was taking a shower, and out of the blue, I couldn't breathe. It felt like my throat closed (it probably was) and air couldn't get it or out. It lasted for about 30 or so seconds. Then it relaxes on it's own, slowly and air started flowing in and out. After a few minutes I was back to normal.
This happens infrequently. As many as months or a year or so between bouts. I had an attack last night that was brutal, seemed to last well over a minute, and I panicked. Now, this can happen while i'm sleeping, or awake during the day.  I all of a sudden jump out of bed and can't breathe. Feels like i'm trying to breathe through a straw with a thickness the size of a toothpick. Now for the strange part, this has happened in the middle of the day sitting at my desk. I'll jump up, and have the same symptom for a minute or so. It's scary. I have had two instances the last 30 days. I am reading that it could be VCD (vocal cord dysfunction). It's not sleep apnea ( I don't believe) because it happens while i'm awake. It happened while I was watching tv one night but only lasted 10 or so seconds.
Any thoughts?
Ant, it's very very frightening.
14 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
I have done this too, off and on for years, i am trying to see a connection, i can wake up and gasp for air or like you said, i will be sitting down and relaxing then all of a sudden i cant breathe and i get up and walk around or go outside to overcome it. I have been exposed to black mold in the past, carbon monoxide and mosqito spraying in washington state and molded in several places i have lived. i do know that when the air is stagnet it also affects me. A friend of mine that livd on a reservation his mom used raw coal to burn in her stove and we all did that breathing thing, gasping for air, carbon monoxide takes the oxygen out of your body so for me just riding behind alot of cars will get me. If you have black mold it can also make you feel breathless and dizzy. so its hard to know which it is, but the oxygen steeler is carbon monoxide, alot of people i know have this problem.
you mentioned the shower, my son and i have done that also and we had black mold in the walls hiding.
hope this helps and i didnt confuse you, but we are so immersed in toxic things , air, water the products we use, and electro magnetic fields its a wonder we are not feeling weirder. Homes are toxic too, insulation and stucco a killer.
A good place to go for alot of answers is: www.ourlittleplace.com

Hope all goes well.

Kat
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686059_tn?1293837427
It could be anything from Asthma, digestive bacteria or your diet. I recommend that you get yourself checked out as soon as possible, because it can be dangerous.  Also, get your throat glands check out.

Good luck....Judy (Please don't wait, this can be dangerous) Anything that has to do with you inability to breath or throat swelling almost shut needs attention immediately.

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Avatar_f_tn
I can have my throat close while i'm awake or asleep.  I can just be sitting there and it will close while i'm breathing.  It also closes when I eat or drink water.  And I've had sleep tests done and it closes on average 7 times an hour... doc says they can not rule out sleep apnea.  Here's the kicker... in my family it's hereditary.  My mom has the same problem and my grandmother did too.  I've seen my mom choke right in front of me, several times and it seems to get worse as we get older.  I have asthma, my mom does too and it's definitely not an asthma attack or acid reflux.  I will also add, i am not over weight, but my mom and grandmother were. But i have no idea what it is.
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Avatar_n_tn
Oh thank gosh--I found others now who have the same experience.  I finally, after about 10 years of this, and it seemingly becoming more frequent, spoke w/my doctor.  He found that I DO have asthma so gave me an inhaler.  Also, I DO have small hiatal hernia so doc assumes I have acid reflux, saying you do not always know that you have it--could happen in your sleep and you are unaware.  After doing the inhaler and breathing MUCH easier now, and taking a drug for acid reflux I had hoped we finally found a solution.  HOWEVER, on vacation it happened again, scaring all my friends to death!  So, back to the doc to see what else is up.  It seems if anything, including saliva, go down the left side of my throat when I'm not concentrating--or if I eat anything like pickles or vinegar, it happens more frequent.  If I can find a solution to my problem I'll sure let you know--in the meantime it is comforting to know I am not alone.  I went to the local hospital one time when I was exhausted and scared from two episodes w/i an hour and they sent me home with instructions for a SORE THROAT!  I was wondering if anyone would ever understand what was going on.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I just took my mother in for the same thing. Her throat closes up all of a sudden. The doctor gave her a steriod injection and inhalers. also prescribed an Epi Pen to carry. Says it's allergies. I believe him too. She only gets like this around Feb and October. I believe I have the same conditions cause around that time I get like that too. It's scary. The first time I stuck my finger down her throat to open up her air way. But that is not good. This is an allergic reaction to something. She is 70 and hispanic and does not believe in anything of the sort. But I had to make her go in. We will see how she does. We have a follow up in 3 weeks.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have experienced this for years as you described it.  Had my first attack while asleep a few nights ago  I was terrified  typically when it happens during waking hours i try to relax till it resides.  I have noticed one thing it seems to be impacted by stress.,,, good or bad.  I also as you have said noticed if saliva goes down a certain side it happens  any knew information on your end  I was tested for allergies they said I dont have any
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Avatar_f_tn
I've had this problem for about 20 years. Im 39, female. Use to go to doctors but got tired of being told its asthma or acid reflux. Do NOT use an inhaler if you are having a sudden throat closing attack. It made it so much worse for me I thought I was going to die. With asthma, I feel a tightness in my chest/lungs and shortness of breath. That's the time to use an inhaler. I don't know what causes the throat closing but its good to know I'm not alone. I've noticed what triggers mine most (aside from acid reflux while I'm sleeping - this is a trigger but not the problem) is when something hits the back of my throat unexpectedly (spit, water, food, or aerosol sprays that you accidently inhale, fumes from vinegar, etc). If anyone finds any answers to help with this problem I would love to know. Thank you!
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow, this sounds EXACTLY like what I've experienced for many years (but, fortunately, it's been pretty rare).  I told my wife I'm finally going to make an appointment to see my doctor about it this week although it's not entirely clear what can be done to prevent these throat spasms.  I guess the main thing I want to find out is whether something a throat spasm can kill a person.  If I can be CERTAIN that just waiting for a throat spasm to relax on its own will always occur quickly enough that I can resume breathing without brain damage ... or worse ... I can just force myself to relax, stay calm, and wait.  However, I'd really like to find out what to do in a worst case scenario, where the spasm does not relax within 30 seconds or so.  Should a always carry a tube with me that someone can jam down my throat if I don't start breathing on my own?  Should I carry some sort of injector that another person can use on me?  Is there some sort of portable air pump that I can attach to my face that would force open my airway?  Would the Heimlich maneuver work?  I'd really like to figure out if anything can be done to get me breathing again if I can't just wait it out.
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Avatar_m_tn
I was having the same problem. The frequency of not being able to breathe was increasing during the day and night. I was only getting a few hours sleep each night because I had to keep jumping up in a panic. During the day I was trying to manage the problem but as afternoon wore on I was struggling to swallow and breathe. In desperation I googled for a few hours and hit upon some things that have really helped.
1. I gave my vocal cords a rest- no humming or singing and less talking
2. I boiled caraway seeds and drank the tea from it
3. I swallowed raw honey and let it slowly slide down my throat
I immediately felt relief and was able to sleep for about 8 hours that night.
I think they relax the throat and the honey and caraway seeds are meant to help with bacterial infections.
Hope this is helpful for others :)
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Avatar_m_tn
For me it's triggered by some physical irritant.  Like inhaling crumbs or maybe saliva going down the wrong way.  I try to relax so the muscles can unclench.  But I also can't help trying to draw in air.  The result is a truly awful sound that must be quite frightening to those around me.  I'm quite worried that it might happen while I'm driving.  Is there nothing that can be done when it happens?
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm so glad I found this thread and I'm not alone. I just started having this happen to me within the last two months. I had another "attack" last night that felt like it lasted a minute. It was the longest so far.  I recently had blood work done and everything came back normal. The next steps are a thyroid scam and a pulmonary test.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had only 5 attacks in the last 8 years. I was unable to get any air in at all or swallow. It was the scariest thing! My husband and another time, fellow teachers jumped up to do the Heimlich but I frantically shook my head "no" since I knew I was not choking on food or anything. I did think I might never breathe again, however. A swallow test showed nothing.   It seemed to have started with only saliva or even a grain of salt.I started to panic everytime I had to have any dental work like extractions because I was scared it would happen during this time.So, I did inform the dentists and I am to raise my hand if I feel it coming on. Crazy, but I feel better with them knowing about this.I did some research years ago and I am trying to locate it again about this condition which they called a spasm. The best part was that relaxing will help and to remember that even though you can not pull in air through either your mouth or nose,  you can use the air left in your lungs to breathe out through your mouth.It said to make  butterfly lips pursed almost together and let a little air out. This will relax the muscle and can really help. Bad news was they said sometimes people have to have a trac(sp) and even pass out. An ENT said it is simply stress and people don't die of this.I realize he really is not familiar with this condition or he wouldn't have made light of the situation. My vocal chords were checked before thyroid surgery and they found I have thick vocal chords probably from talking so much from teaching , drinking too hot or cold drinks, etc.So, I think that might play a part in this and maybe my sleep apnea since I was told from tests that I stop breathing when sleeping on my back. If I find that article I will post the link.
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow, I am so glad to know I am not the only one.  I just had an attack a few minutes ago while sitting at my desk and it is the MOST terrifying experience (hence, me at this site).  I have bolted up in bed from a deep sleep and my dog, bless his heart, just sits and stares with his head titled.  My doctor, a couple years ago, during a routine exam asked me if I had trouble swallowing while he was feeling the glands on the left side of my neck.  At that time, I was not having any issues, but, upon his advice, I did have a biopsy on my thyroid gland (neck, left side) and it came back negative.  I panic every time it happens and am so scared that one day it will not relax for me to begin breathing again.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just had one and I jumped up sat straight up in bed and I panicked. I'm really scared and to top it all off I just got out of the hospital they told me I have a bad gaulbladder and stones I wonder if I'm going to keep breathing I feel so helpless and I don't have n e one to talk to if anyone is there let me know your thoughts
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