Waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air

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Has anybody ever experienced this before? Over the past year I've been experiencing a lot of unsettling symptoms (severe shortness of breath, PVCs, palpitations, all of which get worse upon exertion) and have seen a cardiologist, got a full workup with all the tests (stress, ekg, holter monitor, TEE) and they couldn't find anything. I even saw a pulmonologist who told me I was experiencing irregular breathing but he hasn't really diagnosed it (just gave me and inhaler, which didn't improve anything).

  But recently, I've been having a new symptom. I'll go to sleep at night, and a few hours later I'll wake up gasping for air, like I'm being suffocated.  My breaths are extremely short and it feels like I'm unable to get anough oxygen, which wakes me up. It's very startling and keeps me awake for hours after it happens, with the dyspnea even more aggrivated. I haven't spoken to my cardiologist yet but after my workup, he seemed to think there was nothing wrong with my heart. However, this new addition to my symptoms has me quite scared.  I don't quite know what to do and was wondering if anyone had any experience that could shed some light on it?

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  • Posted

    Hi im Mae in muskogee ok

    I just woke up from a episode where i was gasping for air

    Then i laid in another position and it happened again

    It is very scary but i have to remember God has not giving me a spirit of fear

    And neither has he given it to any of you.. Im trying to get insurance now to figure this out

    But right now my best advice is prayer

    That is a spirit 9f fear and if it can it will destroy you

    But i speak against it now in the name of Jesus and i cover each of us with the Blood of Jesus. And declare that no weapon formed against us shall proaper

    Please pray over yourself before you sleep when i do i find that God gives me peaceful sleep.. Im keep you all in my prayers

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  • Posted

    Regarding the sleep suffocation:   I have always slept on my back but I started waking up gasping for air; preceded by suffocation dreams, usually being at the bottom of a lake or river and then frantically swimming until i reached the surface.  I would wake up popping up in bed, gasping for air.  It was terrifying and only took a few episodes to switch to sleeping on my left side.  I loved sleeping on my back but have not since those episodes 8 years ago and I have not experienced suffocation while sleeping on my side since.  Note:  I've always had a slight arrhythmia and the need to take deep breadths to get in more oxygen.  It worsened  - lower vo2  (accompanied by air hunger) when i used to run (I live at about 5700 feet).  I was given an inhaler which didn't help (and it made me jittery).  I also did the treadmill test with the ultrasound of my heart.  And the echocardiogram.  Nothing showed except the slight arrhythmia and I get flutters ranging from slight to a more severe rapid pounding once in a while, usually early morning.  I've always been fit but these conditions seem better when I stay on the lean side so I try to keep my weight down too.    I'm 52.

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  • Posted

    I have had the same symptoms for years now but this morning's episode really scared me so I will be telling my doctor about it. I wake up completely gasping for air and can't stop coughing. I try to inhale a big breath but am unable to. Coughing and coughing some more I eventually get some breath back but the coughing continues for quite sometime. I always have the same dream that wakes me up too. I dream I'm choking on chewing gum. I can't swallow it and I can't bring it up, it just sits in my throat. That's what wakes me up and then I realise I can't breathe. Very scary!

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  • Posted

    I have the same problem.

    In my case I am pretty sure the reason is Stress. I think too much, believe I have to do too much.

    I feel that I am very tense around my neck (front and back). 

    When I am able to calm down the tension releases and my breathing becomes normal. 

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  • Posted

    Sounds like GERD. Read up on laryngospasm, request an upper endoscopy to check for erosion. You can have it without even realizing you have an issue. 
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    • Posted

      omg so helpful I had a problem years ago with acid reflux and a hyita hernia all good 4 years later I am having this problem waking up at times not often but gasping for air so scared but gonna seek medical
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  • Posted

    A few months ago I woke up at night gasping for air. I was completely out of breath and jumped out of my bed. It happened a couple of times. Later on, I was at passing out stages and had palpitation too. I still notice high pulse rate sometimes it goes up to 130 when I do my activities around the house. I had some clinical tests done for my heart but nothing was found. I was told that I had anxiety. I am walking and do all of the regular activities all day long. 

    May there is nothing wrong with you. Talk to your doctor and see what he says. 

     

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    • Posted

      ​Listen to this Consultant Cardiologist explaining the influence of anxiety on irregular and ectopic heart beats

      ​and see if his explanation helps.

      He has a number of videos on this subject and this is one of the latest.

      ​Good Luck

      Moderator comment: I have removed the link(s) directing to site(s) unsuitable for inclusion in the forums. If users want this information please use the Private Message service to request the details.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply.

      I have posted a picture of my pulse oximeter display which I have been using to monitor the influence of medications, lifestyle and foodstuffs on various vital signs including SpO2, pulse rate and plethysmographic recordings (to determine pulse irregularities).

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  • Posted

    I am so scared I experience this problem I also have had acid reflux but controlled and had surgery for hyiatal hernia but 4 years before now I panic more when this happens it is so traumatic when you can't catch your breath and it's not very often but when it is you don't want to go back to sleep going back to dr for more answers ??😥😴😴

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  • Posted

    I just woke up from one such episode. Mine contain an editional element of terror. I'm gasping for air, and I know I'm sleeping, but I can't wake myself up. I try to force myself to get on my side, but my muscles won't respond. Finally the lack of oxygen forces me to consciousness and I wake up gasping. I try to call out, and have asked my wife to shake me violently to wake me if she hears me, but she doesnt hear me. For me, its all about staying off my back, but I frequently end up there. This can't be good for my heart, wish I could stop it from happening.

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    • Posted

      You raise an interesting point.

      ?I was nocturnally monitoring my blood saturation and pulse rate as shown below (click to enlarge trace).

      ?An adverse reaction forced me to stop one drug out of three and my SpO2 and pulse rate became more and more unstable.

      ?In the trace, the second pulse rate increase (to almost 120 bpm at 04:30 hrs) happened whilst I was dreaming that I saw a body on a railway track and that I helped the police afterwards in an investigation when we established that it was in fact mine.

      ?Interestingly, in a follow up medical explanation for this SpO2 and pulse rate instability I found that the trace was identifiable as the 'sentinel' waveform predictive of congestive heart failure. At the time I was having repeated nocturnal awakenings due to SpO2 excursions down to unsustainable levels (red dotted shows critical level}.

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    • Posted

      Bill, it sounds to me like you have sleep apnea. I prop my head up when I sleep or sleep on my side. If I lie on my back, the apnea kicks in because my air passage is obstructed. A CPAP machine and mask forces air past the obstruction and allows you to breathe normally. Get yourself check at a sleep clinic. Good luck and God bless.
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