Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
waking up unable to breathe
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waking up unable to breathe

I have been waking up gasping for air during the night and unable to inhale or exhale. I have an acid taste during and after this spell.  I normally jump out of bed and struggle until it passes.  This happened several years ago, but since December, I've had three spells.

I'm afraid to lay down and fall asleep....

What could be causing this....
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This sounds like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  This is the back flow of stomach contents, including digestive juices, into the esophagus or food tube.  This is most commonly called acid reflux or heartburn.

This reflux can come all the way up into the mouth and nose.  When this happens the material can be aspirated, dribbling into the windpipe and lungs.  This would explain the
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
that actually happened to me once back in october...i remember jumping out of bed, completely unable to breathe...ran outside, frantically...used my asthma enhaler(even though no wheezing was present, couldnt inhale or exhale), and was able to breathe after about 2 seconds..i then had a sleep study, because i thought it was sleep apnea, which came back negative...and yes, it's terrifying, and they have no idea what caused it...hope you never have that again..
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Avatar_n_tn
you could possibly have reflux and or sleep apnea..both should probably be ruled out......talk to your doctor about this.
good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
hi I had this contantly for over a year. It's nasty alright. Had a sleep test which was fine. Not sleep apnea in the sense of a blocked airway from a saggy palatem or brain forgetting to breathe. I did have a problem with excess mucous from a food allergy to corn which turned out to be the cause. I presume the mucous went down my throat and something closed up to protect the lungs, so I stopped breathing and eventually woke up with a heel of a jolt, andrenhalin going nuts, unable to breathe and choking on mucous. I learned to sit and force in some deep breaths which brought things back to normal after a little while. It was terrifying until I learned to do that - running about in blind panic was me too. Since avoiding corn producs I've been normal. good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
forgot to mention... if mucous isn't your problem it could be GERD - stomach acid refluxing up your espohagus while laying down and then going down your airway - causing same result as my mucous problem but a different cause. I'd get assessed for acid reflux. Try sleeping propped up with pillows or even in a soft chair. The acid taste would be a clue to acid reflux. good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 32 yrs old and have this same problem at leat 2 times a week.  I also want to know what is going on with me.  I do have Panic Attacks frequently during the day, but these attacks while I'm sleeping scare me.  I have woken up gasping for air and feeling like I'm about to die (whatever that feels like), it normally subsides within 15-20 seconds, but I am now afraid to sleep. Help me!
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A related discussion, Unable to breath was started.
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A related discussion, Unable to Breath was started.
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A related discussion, I stopped breathing in my sleep was started.
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