I just have recently begun having these throat spasms. I went to bed one night a few weeks ago just fine and woke up an hour later feeling like I was having my throat squeezed until I could not breathe. I have say that being a new, younger widow - it has kept me on top of my mortality check, so I of course panic. I went to the docto twice - once in the ER and they send me home on prednisone, breathing treatments, rescue inhalers, antibioics and tell me that "I will be just fine." Well after reading how I am definitely not alone in this and that there are treatments available, I want to know if anyone has passed completely out from this. I care for my seven month old twin grandsons and it is extremely frightening to think I could have an episode while being alone with them.
What is the biggest cause (I am asthmatic and smoke/mold/mildew are the biggest triggers - other than that, I never need a rescue inhaler) and what eases it? Any special things I need to discuss with my caregiver or just drive to the ER/Urgent Care Center every time I can't breathe? I am reading that stress is a big trigger and there's quite a bit of that lately but the ANXIETY one has from worrying about when the next episode will occur and where is very debilitating and it has started to make me afraid to go anywhere or be alone. At 47 - I really don't want to live like this! Help!
The ER physicians said it was on the 'maybe' list and suggested an antihistimine daily but at almost 48 years old - I have never suffered from allergies except for symptoms of itchy eyes on rare occasions when the summer begins. I'm sure they will check that as well - thanks so much!
To begin with take a deep breath and relax. Nothing is as frightening or as difficult as it appears to be. Asthma attacks can be triggered at night sometimes due to temperature changes. Also, your symptoms of difficulty breathing at night could also be due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. When a person sleeps the airways are usually patent allowing normal passage for air entry. The upper airway that is at the region of the tongue and the soft palate is the most compliant (soft) part. So, this is liable to collapse and cause airway obstruction. Now why does this obstruction happen in some people? 1. In over weight people the circumferential diameter becomes smaller. 2. Anatomical factors (structure) like enlarged tonsils, volume of the tongue, lengthy soft palate or abnormal positing of the maxilla and mandible can further narrow the lumen 3. Some people are prone for decreased neuromuscular activity to the upper air way muscles during sleep and this reduces the tone of the muscles leading to further collapse of the airway. As the air way collapses the lungs do not have air entry leading to deoxygenation (decreased oxygen) of blood and the person wakes up. This period of non entry of air is called ‘Apnea’ and the waking up is called an ‘Arousal’. This keeps alternating and the person may not actually wake up all the time, but these repeated arousals can disturb the sleep architecture and cause fatigue, headaches and daytime sleepiness.
I would advise you to consult a sleep specialist who would assess with first a sleep questionnaire, and then he may ask for a polysomnogram, which is an overnight sleep study as this helps to detect the apneas.
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