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Waking Up Unable to Breathe
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Waking Up Unable to Breathe

My last episode was a couple of nights ago and my wife was there to witness it.  A lot of you describe percicely what happens to me, maybe eight times over the past few years.  Waking up from a good sleep unable to get a breath for what seems like an eternity but is probably 15 to 20 seconds.  When the breadths finally come they are very small and only a little air gets in.  I'm pretty sure I throw up a little which triggers the episode, the throw up does not reach my mouth.  After fulling recovering, 5 to 15 minutes later, I realize I have heartburn pretty bad.  

I am 53 years old, a smoker, about 30 pounds overweight and I sleep pretty flat on my stomach with my head slightly raised.  

I plan on watching what I eat and not eating for a few hours before I go to bed.  The tomato sause from the pizza I had before I went to bed the other night was the main reason I had this episode-I'm sure of it.  I also plan on sleeping on my side with my head raised and an antacid before bed.  

I wonder if any of you have had an episode while awake?  

Earlier this week while at work I threw up a little, again, not reaching my mouth.  I caught my breadth very quickly-maybe 2 to 3 seconds later and the episode was over.  It surprised me as this was the only time that I was awake when the episode occured.  

The fear I feel when I realize that over the several moments I will be fighting to get air into my lungs is the worst fear I have felt my whole life and I don't want it to happen again. The sounds I make as I fight to get air into my lungs is terrifying and I'm thankful that others have witnessed and heard it only twice.   I have had reservations the past couple of nights about going to sleep.  

I have had three episodes over the past few months and that is a lot for me.  I'm going to start to take measures that I hope will cure me and I hope all of you never have to experience this again.  




This discussion is related to Waking at night unable to breathe.
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Avatar_f_tn
Maybe GERD or Sleep Apnea?   Do you have any history of heart trouble in your family?
You may want to get a check up from your family physician.   Being a smoker, overweight, male and over 50 with breathing problems. It would concern me enough to get some things checked out, just so it would give you some peace of mind, especially, since it has been happening more frequently.  Your body is trying to tell you something and you need to listen.  I have to alway tell my husband that because he is more worried about taking care of me than himself.  Do your wife a favor and make an appt.


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90270_tn?1199338069
This really does sound like that the GERD is the culprit. It is good that you are watching what you eat as when you  eat before going to bed. That would help. Try sleeping with your head elevated. I see that you sleep on your belly...not a good thing with GERD even though it is a comfy position. Have you seen a doctor recently about these problems? If not, it would be a very good idea to do so so that he or she can run all of the tests needed, more importantly, that you also get the correct treatment to minimize your symptoms. I am on Nexium twice a day for my severe GERD and that has helped my case.
Sunny
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Avatar_n_tn
Your episode describes mine exactly.  Last night was the first time its ever happened.  For the past several months I have been having sporadic pressure in my chest.  Its when I move or lying down.  For the past 3 weeks the chest pressure is far more frequent.  It is everyday all throughout the day.  Its been scaring me so I visited my doctor.  While I was there she hooked me up to  heart monitor.  Everything was normal.  Last week I got a chest xray.  Results were normal.  
So last night exactly 12:37 AM (37min after I fell asleep)  I woke up completely unable to breathe.  My air passages were completely blocked.  I sat up and grabbed my husband next to me while still unable to breathe.  Past initially waking up, this episode lasted for about 15 seconds (which is a long time if you can't breathe and are in a panic).  After I finally was able to catch a breathe I was heaving for about 5 minutes and I also noticed that my throat was very sore.  I was shaking tremendously.  After calming down a bit I tried to lay back down and I felt like I couldn't breathe again.  I was petrified to fall asleep again.  I was for sure that I was going to die.  
Unlike some others on this thread and the earlier thread, I am completely healthy.  I am very slender (size 2) and I eat very healthy.  I exercise vigorously at least 3 days a week.  I NEVER eat past 7:45 PM and I go to bed around 12 AM.  So I am never going to bed without giving my body time to digest my food.  So WHATS WRONG WITH ME?
I am scared and confused.  Please help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Since I've turn fifty, it seems my conversations are "What color pill do you take or what are you doing for this...." I'm fiftythree and had a heart attack at 51. I have quad-bypass and 6mos later two of the four failed so they put a stent in. Sent me home where I ate nitro like candy for two months. It wasn't till I started IV Chelation that my heart finally straighten out. I've started takeing a handful of vitiams and suppliments now I have to buy sandpaper cause my skin improved so much that can't sand wood with my bare hands anymore. Now this wake up can't breath-dieing stuff. This is not a wake up panic attack gasping for air thing. You jump straight up out of a dead sleep and you can't breath. Your epiglottis is slamed shut and air is not going in, air can go out but its all you got and you ain;t get'en nomore, but you noticed that you got to let a little out cause it seems to relax the epig enough to let a little air in. It does not relax much but enough that you can make yourself gasp for a little air. After about two life times (15-25 seconds)
of working up the courage to let out just enough air to gasp some in till you finally get to take in a full breath that you are a fraid to let out, but after a couple minutes you finally start to fell that immediate danger is over, now let the coughing begin and the gurgling at the end of your exhale. Then after a few minuting of coughing and gurgling and taking Tums it all over till the next time.
Because the last two times we went to the Hospital with heart attacks my wife drove so, I have preplaned with my wife on what to do if I wake her up one night. Call the Ambulance and I will try to get to the front yard because I will be unconscious by the time they get here (I live 1/2 mile from the station). They maybe able to tube me and get some air in before I go into Cardiac arrest. My wife spend a allowful lot of money on that Chelation treatment, I hate to see it go to waste on Acid reflux.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 50 years old and in the past 6 months I have had 4 episodes ( the most current last night at 0130). I awake unable to breathe.... I stand or hang on the bed post trying to get air in. It is terrifying.. I am about 50# overweight and have hypertension. I am trying to see a pulmonary specialist but in the meantime am afraid to go to sleep.. I usually sleep on my side with two (2) pillows under my head.   After reading these articles its comfusing... GERD or Sleep Apnea????????????????  What to do????
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Avatar_m_tn
I am only 20 years old. Weigh 140lbs 5'5. My heart is fine my weight is fine i'm active and I work. For the last 3 nights in a row I have been woken out of a DEEP sleep completely unable to breathe. It lasts for about 30 seconds and the first time I thought maybe I had a bad dream...same for the second time. But the 3rd time felt different i felt like i was choking on water or some type of liquid. And after i caught my breathe i couldn't stop burping. WHAT IS THIS?
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Avatar_m_tn
Have you found out what it could be?  I just had this happen to me last night and I am terrified to go to sleep.  My husband witnessed it and called 911 but by the time the ambulance got there it was over and I just had theat stomach acid feel in my throat as well as belching.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had this as a youth and it started again in my thirties. As anyone experiencing it knows, it is dreadfully frightening.

In one of the more recent occurrences, I discovered that although I couldn't catch a breath from my mouth - I COULD get breath by breathing in through my nose. I don't know why that works better but it just seems to work. Since then that is what I do (as soon as I remember).

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