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suffocation/choking feeling
I am currently treating with Armour thyroid 90mg each morning for hypothyroid dysfunction. I have all the classic symtpoms. One disturbing occurance is an occasional "episode of apnea" where I am awakened from my sleep gasping for air.  It feels almost like I am suffocating.  My heart rate will immediately spike like with an adrenaline rush/fight or flight situation (although generally speaking my HR runs quite low). I am only noticing this at night and it always occurs after I have fallen to sleep. Is there a physiological reason for this? Is this common in people with underactive thyroids? I have found scant info re: "suffocation and choking" on some "thyroid symptoms" lists but have yet to find any logical explanation as to why it occurs.  People have suggested the possibility of panic attack to me but it has never happened when I am awake. Should I be concerned and will it dissipate as my thyroid levels stabilize?   Please advise.  
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Read my post to navarro20, it might pertain to you as well.


Just my personal opinion and/or experience. Always discuss your health issue with your doctor , always adhere to your doctors advise and, you always have the right to a second opinion. Nothing is a 100% or a 100%, 100% of the time. However, we are not all alike!

GL,
1990 - Hyper/Graves'
1997 - Dia/RAI
1997 - MVP - Mitral Valve Prolapse
1999 - TED - slight Thyroid Eye Disease
1999 - Visible Nodule (suspect Marine-Lenhart-Syndrom/hyperfunctioning nodule)
2000 - SAS  - Short Attention Span (short, spaced paragraphs, sweet and to the point helps)
2002 -  IED  - Intermittent Explosive Disorder (Graves' Range)
2007 -  A/ITP (suspect)

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Have you been checked for a goier or sub sternal goiter?
I had same thing and it turned out the goier was pusshing over my trachea and causing the suffocation symptoms.I got the sube sternal goiter out back in Sept.and I am much improved.So you might have your doc check that out.Post back here to let us know.
Love Venora
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I too have experienced this very scary feeling. It does not happen every night but every few weeks or months I experience this. Same feelings that everyone has described. (I tried to find the link that Graves Lady references but I unfortunately did not find it). I have tried to figure out what the cause of this is but I have usually just attributed it to the fact that I am about 45 lbs overweight and this can lead to sleep apnea. Try googling "sleep apnea" or "obstructive sleep apnea" to see if this helps you with info. I think the only thing that stands out as a contributing factor is if I have a large meal at night and later than usual and I go to bed shortly thereafter. I think this volume of food pushes on the diaphram which somehow relates to this type of episode. If this continues to happen to you on a regular basis, I would think you could get a sleep study done and there are solutions to this. Good luck.
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i have had that exact thing happen where i'm woken up by the feeling of suffocation. then i also have a real scared feeling at the same time right after waking.It only happens to me when my thyroid has been low and i'm adjusting to a higher dose. it's only happend a few times but it's a very uncomfortable feeling when it does happen and almost dont want to go back to sleep. my heart also races after waking to that feeling. does that happen every night to u? I hope not. maybe it will go away after you been on the right dose for awhile.
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Oh I found Graves Lady's post. It gives some great info.
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i do know the thyroid does effect oxygen uptake and circulation.
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i too have experienced a choking feeling and i spoke to my doctor and he requested an fbc an an esr checked my eyes and asked me too swallow although weeks before i had a fasting bloods and all levels were fine underactive sufferer
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i have the same choking feeling just as i am falling asleep, i wake up as tho i have been suffocating then i wake up in shock,i am very scared by this,i have suffered panic attacks for 10 years altho the last year has not been that bad i dont feel it is to do with that.i have been to the docs and she didnt think it was sleep apnea,i also have an under active thyroid,i have the same sighns as the first lady,i am really scared as they always put down to panic attacks,what can i do
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The type of hypothyroid disease being discussed is called Hashimoto's Disease.  Each of you may want to talk to your Dr's and make sure they're testing your T-4 levels also.  Each of you may also want to talk to your doctors to be tested for Celiac's disease also, since it and Hashimoto's disease tend to occur together.  Best safe than sorry in such a situation since both are dangerous if not tended to.  I will give you all some links to help in your researches and to print out to help you discuss this with your doctor.  

However, the choking feeling we feel is when our immune system is for some reason, many reasons given as to what may be causing it, attacks our thyroid glands.  It causes our thyroid gland to inflame and also reduces the amount of T-4 our body creates, making us sluggish and even causes a depessive state.  The nightmares, or night terrors as some call it, is caused by the attack on our thyroid glands and the sudden changes in chemical compositions in our blood stream and blood flow to the brain based on the inflamation of the thyroid.

http://www.thedoctorsdoctor.com/diseases/hashimotos.htm

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000371.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothyroidism

My advice is to talk to your doctor about it, possible treatments, and all options.  Don't forget to mention and be tested for similar diseases associated with hypothryoid disease and particuarly Hashimoto's Disease.  Sleep apnea may also be a cause of Hashimoto's Disease, amongst others, so research it and discuss it with your doctor with an open mind and the knowledge you have gained.
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What you're describing sounds like you obstructed and woke up suddenly. When this happens intermittently, your nervous system gets jolted as you wake up and activates your sympathetic nervous system. This is what makes your heart race, rapid breathing, sweating, as well as other symptoms. This problem is frequently misdiagnosed as anxiety disorder or panic attacks. Many people with this condition may not even have obstructive sleep apnea, yet. Very short obstructions and arousals don't get picked up on sleep studies as apneas.

Also, there's no stereotypical patient for sleep apnea. Even young, thin women (and men) that don't snore can have significant sleep apnea. Yes, goiters can cause breathing obstruction, but this is usually with massive goiters. I've seen many people who underwent thyroidectomy for mildly enlarged thyroids with no effect on their breathing symptoms.

My advice to to undergo a sleep study to make sure you do or don't have sleep apnea. But even if you don't test positive, you could still have a breathing disorder called upper airway resistance syndrome. Take a look at my article on UARS for more details.
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I been feeling suffociation in the middle of the night or I have so much going on in my mind, it's hard for me to fall asleep. Its weird because this usually happens to me when I'm stressed but I'm not stressed out at all, maybe just minor things that bother me but nothing to really feel this way and I hate it because I work during the week and recently for the past couple days...I haven't been able to sleep. I feel suffocation because I can't fall asleep and negative thoughts run through my head, I scheduled an appointment with my dcotor. I do suffer from Hypo-Thyroidism but I have been on pills for almost a year now. I will definitley talk to my doctor, but I hate this feeling. I been taking Nyquil to fall asleep which isnt good either.  GOodluck to everyone.
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I had the symptoms of hypothyroidism since I can remember.  I observed others with this problem get drugs for it.   Their thyroid atrophied from being replaced by the synthetic hormone. Once you take the drugs you must continue as the thyroid is ruined. Instead of doing that I found a curandera and took herbs. This cured my problems. My thyroid is now normal and I am not reliant on drugs for the rest of my life. Think about this, dear friends. Drugs are not always a good answer.
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I have had an underactive thyroid for years and took meds for it and was fine until I hit 40 and then for some reason everything went haywire. My levels were all over the place and I was dealing with chronic hair loss. Eventually I fired my endo doc and wemt to a Natropath who had experience in thyroid disorders for years. She tested me for Hashi's and sure enough I had it. My anitbodies were extremely high. So she put me on different meds/doses. We had to adjust a few times, but every time something was "off" I would get these random racing heart feelings. At night I would experience this sensation like I was drowning or suffocating to the point where i would try to shake it off by getting out of bed and walking around my bedroom!! Sometimes just propping my head up in bed with several pillows helped.
Anyway, the symptoms would always subside once we would get the dose right. My suggestion is to hang in there, dont give up and dont be afraid to find another provider if you feel you are not getting any where with the one you have.
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