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.
Ant, it's very very frightening.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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 :)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
I am a 46 year old male. I have had the problem since I was about 25, but very rarely. Literally can't get air through my throat for about 10 seconds. Then it opens up. It is absolutely terrifying. It has mostly happened after I was working in an area with dust or inhaling crumbs the most recent time. I also think talcum powder may have caused one episode. It has happened while I am awake and while sleeping. It is frustrating that some doctors translate what you say to: he or she feels like their throat is closed up. It's not just feeling the throat closed. I physical can't get air through. Basically I try and try to breathe and push with my lungs. Eventually tiny amounts of air to get in and then it eventually opens up fully. Honestly, I don't know if pushing with my lungs helps or not, but it is very hard to relax and do nothing when I am wondering if I am going to choke to death. I would very much like to know what I can do when this happens. Epi-pen? Heimlich ? Massage the throat?
Finally I've found others who understand exactly what i have been going
through for years. Yes, the throat closes....no air in , no air out.
No drinking water, no talking, .....Just a very loud noise from me trying
to suck in air so i don't pass out.
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue 19 years ago.
Through the years I have noticed the number one thing that brings it on
is fatigue. I miss a nap after work and get to bed late....
well, next day I will know not to eat crackers, chips, and watch and
pay close attention while drinking anything.
Number one thing I've found to help....When you feel it come on, try not
to panic (easier said than done) . All I have to say is....it takes lots of
practice not to panic.
I tell people that when you ( this person) go and jog and you get a charlie
horse in your calf muscle...it's because you are overusing that muscle and
well, if i don't relax my body after work, not only do my leg, arms, back
muscles pay,,,,, my throat muscles also get tired from talking to customers, from smiling all day to customers, etc.
I tell people at work...If you see me looking like i'm choking on food..ask if
i am and when i shake my head no.,...leave me alone so i can relax my
throat muscles .....if i pass out call 911.
forgot to mention about the dentist. My dentist also knows about this.
I told him that if anything , and i mean anything, touches the back of my
throat.....it will close.
I will cancel a dentist appt. if i am over tired.
forgot to mention that a customer one day had way to much cologne on.
That smell irritated my throat and wham it instantly started to close.
Had to immediately go to a room where nobody was and calm it down,.
My father just experienced 12 days of persistent hiccups and his throat and nose closes up to where he couldn't breathe. The non-breathing eventually cures the hiccups. After 15 seconds of not breathing, the airway opens up and then he can breathe again. He had episodes of non- breathing for several days and couple times each day. I gave him Benadryl and it has helped tremendously. He has not had an episode of hiccups in the last 3 days and the non-breathing in the last 5 days. Benadryl is an over the counter drug and is pretty safe to use to see if it works for you. It worked for my dad! It was a life saver!
I'm having this problem I'm 22 and it's literally ruin my life it start last month it gave me tachycardia I was so scared and it would only happen once a day maybe then it's now happening I rows and all day I on us to get when drifting of to sleep b it's become a day thing I can't Leabe the house I too scared ! I have small children too it's causing my anxiety a it a relief to know people have had it a understand as I weno to hospital I get told stress and anxiety bit it doesn't happen when I'm stressed it happens when I wants to and it's driving me crazy I wake up in fear of I I'm hoping it doesn't become a thing that stays did anybody find anything that stopped it
I have had this happen for over 20 years....it is so terrifying. Recently, I had the worst attack. Being a nurse I try not to panic, but as you all know it is not easy. One thing I find has helped...as soon as it comes on....I get down on my hands and knee's with my head to the floor....I think the change in body position helps as I think it increases blood flow. I try to take in a very very slow easy breath. As this is happening I tell myself nobody dies from this...worst thing is I will pass out. I do not have any symptoms, no allergies, gerds, sleep apnea. It doesn't seem like any doctors know how to treat it as they do not encounter this. Magnesium may also help as it helps muscle cramps.
I cannot believe I found this site and I'm so grateful. I am nearly losing my mind thinking what could I have. I have thought of worst things like cancer and Im dying. My doctors cant give me straight answers. Thank you for all who said something and truly I'm relieved.
I have this problems since high school. Im in my 30s now. Before it only happened once or twice a year. This month almost twice or more a day thats why I had to go to urgent care multiple times and they diagnosed me with bronchitis. After a round of antibiotics it still persists. I get really scared and I thought I could die from this. I am scheduled to see another doctor tomorrow. Hopefully he can give a good insight about this problem.
my daughter carnt breath throat tightens, been to hospital and they said it was a panic attack, she only panics because she carnt breath, shes having a baby very soon and I am truly concern, she has experience this for the last 5 years, I tried the homeopathic, anything, she is an asthmatic, waiting on hospital checkup, I hope someone finds a solution, I'm her mother and feel so helpless, can someone help her, anything
Thank goodness there are others like me. I have the same symptoms around once a month. Throat closes .u try to suck in air but it won't go down. Then the panic starts. I sip some water , don't know if it's the right thing to do but it works for me after maybe 30 sec to a minute. Scares the crap out of my wife and me. No doctor can come up with a solution.
I have this. It has happened only four or five times in the last few years. I am 62 and not sleeping well. I am also a singer. I believe it is triggered by unexpected things such as vinegar or hot food, spicy food. After another recent attack I am going to the doctor this week. I am avoiding these types of foods. It is truly terrifying.
I never had a problem until I was rafting and became trapped under a large waterfall. This was a bad situation that kills rafters every year, but I knew that by relaxing and letting the current toss me out I would escape. If you fight it you risk using up precious air and then you are a goner.
As I was being rolled and tossed around in a whiteout of bubbles I was thinking, any second now, stay calm, don't fight it, but it was taking longer than expect. The seconds passed and I played all sorts of mind games to remain calm, but by the time I was in clear dark water we estimated I had been trapped under the falls for over 2 minutes.
I found myself free of the waterfall, but I near the bottom of the river, out of air, with 15 feet of dark water over me! (I was wearing a life vest too) In a last surge of adrenaline I swam to the surface which also used up the last bit of air in my lungs. My timing was off by a split second as I broke the surface and I gulped water and that closed my throat.
The irony was I on top of the water, but I still couldn't get any air! I started coughing to expel the water and clear my airway. It was like breathing through a tiny straw at first, then as the seconds ticked off my throat began to relax where I could breath.
A year later I was asleep in bed and I felt the sting of acid reflux in my throat and I leapt to my feet unable to breath. It was a scary experience, but I was also angry at the muscle in my throat that triggered this event. I recall thinking, hey this wasn't supposed to happen except during drowning!
It was probably a full 20-25 seconds before I could get the first tiny gulps of air into my lungs. With every few seconds my throat was opening up and within another 15- 20 seconds I could breath with only a small restriction.
I've had at least 6-7 similar events since that time and I've learned to stay calm, don't rise up and let it relax. Just lay there and trust that this is the fastest way to get my throat open.
I believe I suffer from a condition know as Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) that is similar to another condition -- GERD -- that results from the contents of the stomach backing up (reflux). But the symptoms of LPR are a bit different.
According to the article I read on LPR, "At either end of your esophagus is a ring of muscle (sphincter). Normally, these sphincters keep the contents of your stomach where they belong -- in your stomach. But with LPR, the sphincters don't work right. Stomach acid backs up into the back of your throat (pharynx) or voice box (larynx), or even into the back of your nasal airway. It can cause inflammation in areas that are not protected against gastric acid exposure."
I've scheduled an appointment with family doctor and I am going to present my finding. I'm a male, in my mid 60's and I'm about 40 lbs overweight . When the acid reflux events happen I've usually eaten just before bedtime.
I was watching tv one night and I went to take a drink of my water and my throat closed up. It seemed to get worse upon trying to eat or drink. Even when I'm not trying to eat or drink, my upper throat feels like it's closing up. I can feel it swelling up. Once it closes up, I can't eat, drink, swallow, or speak! It's so terrifying! Nothing is provoking it. It just happens out of the blue.
I went to the ENT the next day and had several tests done and they couldn't find anything wrong. Thyroid came out normal, too.
The only thing wrong in my blood work was that I had low estrogen. Other than that, everything was normal. They gave me muscle relaxers ,which did not help. I take heart burn medication, which does not help. I've seen a neurologist, family dr, emergency room dr, ent, and a gi doctor and none of them can find a cause!
I can't eat very well and I've lost weight. I've been experiencing this problem since July 2015.
I wonder if this is a hormone problem and perhaps that's why the doctors can't find a cause??? I do have TMJ and my dentist doesn't seem to think TMJ is causing this.
I'm tired of living like this. I'm only in my early thirties and I'm healthy. I just can't swallow off and on through out the day. I'm desperate and scared! Doctors just send me out the door and don't help me.I don't know what to do anymore.
I am a white female 62 and have experienced this while infrequently for years. I just had my worse attack to date. For me, it feels like the flap in the back of my throat gets stuck. It's like the reflux meets the sinus drip. I can't breathe. I've learned to sit up and relax; but, for some reason that didn'the work tonight. I scare my poor husband who tries to help by telling me to relax. He was pounding me on the back to help. Tonight really was terrifying. I finally was able to get some air in and even vomited phlegm after it was over. Even after 30 minutes, I'm scared to go back to sleep. It leaves me exhausted. I am overweight; but, it happened when I was very thin too. I've talked with doctors who dismiss me. I agree with those who say relaxing is difficult when you wake from a sound sleep because you can't breathe. I sometimes know when I might have an attack. If I'm in a place with lots of smoke, it is more likely to happen. I take benadryl nightly to sleep and help with allergies. It has happened in the daytime. It has me terrified to have anesthesia. What is this? What type of doctor should I see that will listen and help?
Thanks for this forum.
**DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND IN NO WAY MEDICALLY TRAINED OR CREDIBLE/RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY OUTCOME OF PEOPLE FOLLOWING THE ADVICE OF THIS POST. I AM JUST TRYING TO HELP BY SHARING MY KNOWLEDGE**
So, now that that's over:
Hello everyone who has this problem. I believe that what you are experiencing is laryngospasm, where the vocal cords temporarily seize, making it hard to breathe. This can happen at any time not just while eating or sleeping. It usually lasts only 2-3 minutes at most, but can be terrifying. A very distinctive noise is made when trying to breathe, and while exhaling and coughing are still possible, inhalation is a huge challenge. Inhaling faster also makes it worse.
The explanation of the reason behind this issue is lengthy, but the most important thing is: please go see your doctor. If you feel that they don't understand your problem, or can't help you, do some research before you go in. Also, if it is possible, you may want to videotape one of your spasms, should you have that much clarity during an attack, to show the doctor.
Finally, when you do have an attack like this, tip your head back, and inhale slowly through your nose, and exhale forcefully through your mouth. Keep your breathing slow and steady, and stay calm, and the spasm should pass quickly. Breathing quickly will just make it worse.
Hope this helps :)
This has been happening to me for years. Maybe three times a year. Its terrifying. Walking my dogs one day in a secluded area, I thought I was going to die. I just read a suggestions that said if it happens, breathe through your nose very slowly instead of your mouth. This happened while on the phone today and my friend was ready to call 911. You feel helpless and doomed when this occurs.
I hear you all. I just had the worst one yet. My throat was closed so tightly I couldn't even make that awful noise of trying to pull in air. It lasted much longer than any of the others. Even though my husband was with me I was terrified and knew this was it! Even my dogs were panicked. I have had these spasms triggered by my own saliva in the wrong place, but it is usually something dry--crackers, meat cooked too long, dry hamburger meat, toast crust, vinegar, hot peppers, some sour things or something that just happens to hit in the wrong place at the very back of my tongue/beginning of my throat. When I finally brought this to my doctor's attention some years ago I thought she would dismiss it, but apparently her mother suffered from it as well. She said there really isn't anything you can do and that no, you won't die from it. After today's attack I also looked online and found some information at emaxhealth.com.
The first method would probably require practice beforehand and keeping one's wits about them during the attack. It is a breathing technique. The second involves using a shortened straw (that you need to keep on hand at all times) and breathing through it with your mouth tightly around it to slow your rate of breathing. The assumption is that you ARE breathing. Another suggestion is to tilt your head back which may relax the vocal cords. There are also medical and alternative healing methods. If anyone who reads this finds any that work, please let the rest of us know.
So glad to see I'm not alone in this - happened one time when a friend was visiting, he's in a Master's Swimming program and immediately pulled both my arms up over my head (perhaps to relax the chest, not sure) anyway, it seemed to shorten the attack somewhat, you might like to have someone do this for you, you can't really just hold up your own arms, as the panic takes over. My triggers seem to be drinking something (ie. water), so now I'm terrified each day to take my medication! Anyway, hope this helps somewhat. (70 year old female, had this for 30 years)
I am 55 and have never had this happen until today for the first time and I thought I was going to die, It scared me to death almost. I do have bronchitis right now but this did not feel related. I was just sitting on the sofa and BAM! I could not breathe, It felt like my throat closed 100% and I thought that it was the end for me. I go back to the health dept next week for a recheck and I hope they will be able to put my fears to rest because I must admit I am very freaked out. I was not eating or drinking or anything it was totally out of the blue. So scary!
My mom has had the same problem infrequently for many years. She just had an Espisode about an hour ago, and it was the scariest yet. It seemed to go on for at least 60 seconds. It was the middle of the night, she ran out of her room in a panic, her throat closed up and she was gasping for air, wheezing desperately. I too told her to put her arms up because I thought it was her lungs. After the 60 seconds, slowly she began taking in small amounts of air. Once she started being able to breathe without severely wheezing, she collapsed. Luckly, my boyfriend and I were right there to catch her. I imagine her body was exhausted from the episode. This has occurred during the day time as well. Years ago the doctors told her she had sleep apnea, but it has occurred when she is wide awake too. Super freighting. I am just afraid waiting it out may not be enough one day. What if the airway doesn't relax and allow air in. She does seems to have allergies, she does mention have some acid reflex issues from time to time that make her nauseous. She is 67, Hispanic, not over weight, never smoked, never drank, and goes for walks every couple days. I am going to talk with her about the tips I read above, but if anyone knows of something that really helped during an episode or how to prevent or shorten the length of them, please let me know.
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