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Pain in my sides in bed, tightness in chest, wake up gasping for breath

On around Monday March 9th, I started to feel a tightness in the area above the belly and below the breast, right in the center. I just figured it was a symptom of an energy drink I had (experienced something similar a couple years prior). Later that week I started to feel some burning pain in that spot and whenever I'd lay down that burning would spread all over my gut. If I lay on one side or the other the burning would be there.

I spoke to someone that said they experienced something similar and said it was ulcers. They took some Nexium and were better.

Tuesday night I felt the burning so I sat in my chair. I started to fall asleep in the chair and woke up gasping for breath. It scared the heck out of me. I stopped taking ibuprofen pills. My old doctor had me taking 800mg daily for back pain as I'd sleep (this was 4-5 years ago though). I looked online and found out that it could cause ulcers. I thought this might be the cause so I cut those out.

I bought some Nexium 24hr the next day (Wednesday) and took one of the pills around noon.

I took a nap for about an hour and woke up gasping for air. I felt that pressure in the center of my chest again and my throat felt sore and tighter. For a couple hours afterwards it felt like I had a shortness of breath. I ate and felt better that evening.

I went to bed and it felt like the air passage was being blocked, so I'd sit in my chair that night. Every time I'd fall asleep, I'd wake up gasping for breath. I didn't get any sleep.

The next day (Thursday) I took my second nexium pill. I felt tired all day and I ended up sleeping in my recliner. When my brother came in to talk to me I'd fall asleep mid-conversation. After a few hours I felt perfectly fine. I was productive all afternoon and evening. Then I went to bed.

Like before, I'd feel the air passage start to block as I'd lay on my sides or on my chest. I went to my chair and slept there, and like before, I kept waking up and gasping for breath. So I stayed awake until about 6am, when I took a nap. I woke up in my chair around 7-7:30am and went to bed. There I slept for another 5 hours, no problem.

I really didn't like how I felt after taking the Nexium pills, so I stopped after the second one. The burning feeling was gone.

That afternoon I decided to lay down for a little bit. I couldn't get comfortable and the same air blockage came back after about 30/45 minutes so I got up. For a couple hours I'd feel like I have a shortness of breath. There was a tightness in my chest and throat, both of which is still there.

I should tell you that I am 34 years old and morbidly obese. I'm currently working on that by doing keto.
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Avatar universal
Keto won't help with your obesity, most likely.  A permanent change in diet would be better.  Keto might work for a short period of time, but you need permanent change that will last.  You also need to exercise.  But before you do anything you probably need to talk to a doctor.  What you describe does sound like it could be an ulcer, but it could also not be.  Nexium doesn't treat ulcers, it treats heartburn.  Taking it regularly will cause your digestive system to respond to the acid suppression by making more, as it must have it to digest protein and some minerals.  It's a short-term treatment for a short-term problem.  Ulcers today are believed to be caused by a bacteria called H pylori, though probably not in all cases, and by taking certain meds such as the ibuprofen you were talking about.  But there are other digestive problems that feel like an ulcer but aren't.  You can get tests from a gastroenterologist where they will look inside you for inflammation or for H pylori, and if you have it they treat it with antibiotics, not Nexium.  But if you're morbidly obese, you probably don't eat very well, and so it could just as well be that catching up to you.  The other thing it could be is a sleep disorder, such as apnea, which affects the obese most often.  When you eat, a lot of digestive problems caused by things such as reflux and ulcers feel better because your digestive juices have actual food to work on rather than working on you.  But as you sleep they can, when your digestive system goes awry, go up instead of out and cause problems, especially if you lay down soon after eating.  I got a chronic stomach problem as well from being told to take ibuprofen for too long for pain, and I'm not obese, so it's a common problem with docs prescribing meds without knowing a whole lot about either you or how they affect people long-term.  You kind of have to do your own homework to make sure your doctors aren't killing you once you get a diagnosis to make sure the treatment is the right one.  But again, you're not going to be able to self-diagnose.  It seems clear your weight is starting to catch up to you, but just how isn't clear, so I'd suggest seeing the right docs and find out if something is going on, but whatever you do, you're either going to get to work on the weight by living a healthier life or stuff can happen as you get older.  All the best.
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I went to Urgent Care and was told it appears that I have severe sleep apnea and acid reflux. I was prescribed omeprazole and waiting to be scheduled for a sleep study.

One thing he didn't touch on was my breathing, which started around the time I first started gasping for breath. How sometimes I would feel like there's pressure on my lungs when I breathe. I felt it right after the appointment as I was sitting in my car. I feel it now as I post this, though this time it started right after I tried laying down for bit. It seems to return to normal after a while. I spoke to my father about it, and he says he goes through the same thing. Said it was gas from the acid reflux and it lessens when he burps, though I haven't experienced that yet. Still, having to think about breathing is pretty unsettling for me.
973741 tn?1342342773
I'm glad you went to the urgent care!  I know that shortness of breath can happen during gerd because the stomach acid can creep up and enter your lungs.  You are most prone to this during sleep.  Here's an entire very easy to read article on it. https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/shortness-of-breath  Let me know after looking at it if it sounds at all familiar to you.  

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