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Snoring, sleep apnea detected, now with episode of breathlessness and gasping - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Sleep Disorders
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2408 Questions
User :   I just awoke unable to breathe - gasping for air... I thought I was going to black out or just die. very frightening. after what seemed like forever but was maybe a minute I caught my breath enough to forcibly inhale & exhale until I calmed down. I feel like I have fluid sitting on my lungs. I can't clear my throat and make it cough up... what can I do to alleviate the feeling?
Doctor :   Hi...
User :   Hi
Doctor :   Let me read your query
User :   ok... I'm still shaking...that was scary...
User :   it has been 2 hours now - I'm afraid to go back to bed.
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :   is there any other symptoms associated?
User :   no
Doctor :   is there any increase in heart rate?
Doctor :   is there any sweating associated?
User :   I know I snore - I was tsted for sleep apnea once 15 years ago but couldn't fall asleep in the clinic
Doctor :   is there any chest pain associated?
Doctor :   try doing deep breathing and see if you feel better
User :   no chest pain - I'm sure my heart must have been racing
Doctor :   please provide your age, height, weight, details of past medical illness and treatment if any
User :   yes that has helped but I can't clear anything from my throat
Doctor :   ok. what do you feel when you try to clear your throat?
Doctor :   do you feel as if something is stuck there?
User :   59, 5'10, 230.
User :   no not like choking - just like I have fluid there I can't cough up like I would by clearning my throat
Doctor :   for your height you are overweight, you should consider weight reduction, it will help to control sleep anea problem also
Doctor :   usually in fat people, the soft tissues of throat fall back and obstruct the air passages when they sleep
Doctor :   if the obstruction is less, the problem is only snoring, which increases to sleep apnea of short duration
Doctor :   and later longer making you have these kind of episodes
Doctor :   I would recommend you to go ahead with a warm salt water gargling to see if it relieves the current symptoms.
User :   ok.. I'll try that
Doctor :   if the symptom does not get relieved then do not try to cough up further or lie down on bed completely
Doctor :   be in inclination of about 30-45 degress
Doctor :   to avoid any further complications
Doctor :   if this feeling still persists for more than an hour, then take urgent appointment with your doctor for a throat examination
Doctor :   or visit an urgent care center
User :   ok.... I've had it happen before even sitting up
User :   ok
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :   do you have any pst history of respiratory problems?
Doctor :   do you have any family history of respiratory/cardiac problems?
User :   no I don't... this is a repeat occurence though...
User :   yes... cardiac issues
Doctor :   ok, then if visiting urgent care request for an ECG and discuss these episodes withg a cardiologist if possible or take a referral to a cardiologist
Doctor :   for your current episode and past episode symptoms discussion
Doctor :   if there are cardiac issues in the family
Doctor :   then your episodes could also suggest angina
Doctor :   which should be further evaluated
Doctor :   have you followed what I have said?
User :   yes... I understand
Doctor :   is there anything else you would like to ask me?
User :   no... I'm just afraid to try sleeping again... I have to get up in three hours & fly out on a business trip across country
User :   I'll try the salt water gargle for now
Doctor :   i would suggest you to get a check done before you leave the country, such that you do not face any problems when in flight
Doctor :   try the salt water gargle and see if it helos
User :   ok... thank you
Doctor :   if, not, or if teh effect is only temporary
Doctor :   then please visit an urgent care center for further evaluation of the problem
Doctor :   is there anything else i can help you with?
User :   no ... thanks
Doctor :   thanks for consulting me. bye for now.
User :   bye
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