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gasping for breath
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gasping for breath

A friend of mine tells me that sometimes he wakes up at night gasping for breath. It is severe and he is unable to breathe for a matter of seconds. When he describes it, he says it feels like his windpipe is blocked or covered. it only happens at night, but says that it is often so frightening he is afraid to go back to sleep. He also has the taste of vomit in his mouth, and wonders if this is reflux, but it sounds like something else might be going on. I think this happens to him two or three times a month.
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Has he been evaluated or treated for gastric reflux (GERD)?  You can find out more about it from www.NationalJewish.org, their MedFacts about reflux.
Also, have his doctors considered having him evaluated by a sleep study to see if he might have sleep apnea (where he briefly stops breathing during his sleep)?  www.NationalJewish.org MedFacts also has info about sleep studies.  
Does he have asthma?  I used to wake every night unable to breathe due to severe chronic asthma.  His internist can examine your friend and decide which of these evaluations (if any) would be appropriate for your friend to help figure out why he is having these problems and appropriate treatment.
Aloha,
Starion
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Avatar_n_tn
I would also recommend a sleep study. It is possible he may have sleep apnea which basically means he stops breathing in his sleep. That would explain the waking up gasping.

Good luck to him!
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree with all the advice the others just gave you!

Also, check my VCD website, because gastric reflux (the high up type called LPR/Laryngeal-Pharyngeal Reflux kind) can cause the vocal cords to close up, including at night, and this causes a LARYNGOSPASM (also known as Vocal Cord Dysfunction/VCD).

In fact, one of the many names of VCD is:

Episodic Paroxysmal Laryngospasm,

where "episodic" means it usually isn't happening all the time, &
"paroxysmal" means it comes on suddenly (usually), and
"laryngospasm" means the vocal cords close up, when they should be staying open, and this closes off the "upper airway", causing gasping for breath.

I hope your friend can soon be seen by a good doc who is knowledgable about how GASTRIC REFLUX can cause asthma, VCD, &/or other breathing problems!

I also agree with being evaluated for sleep apnea.

A good ENT (ear, nose & throat doc), & a good Pulmonologist (lung doc), & a good GI (Gastro-intestinal doc) should be able to help your friend get correctly diagnosed & treated.

Once your friend is correctly diagnosed, there will be treatment choices.

Sincerely, Concerned lady
<a href=http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com>http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com</a>
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