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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Suggest treatment for foam around mouth while sleeping

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Dr. Dariush Saghafi

Neurologist

Practicing since :1988

Answered : 1562 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 in General Health
Question: My dad is 45 years old with Diabetes, Hypertension, High Cholesterol, and weighs over 400 pounds. All last night, my dad has foam around his mouth. He holds his breath while he is sleeping. He has be incontinent for the past 3 days during his sleep. Then when he wakes up, his ears are plugged. He feels very sick. What could this be?
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Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Needs to be seen by Doctor

Detailed Answer:
Good afternoon ma'am. My name is Dr. Saghafi and I'm sorry to hear your father is having these sorts of problems. Let's see what I can help you with given each of your statements.

Let me just give you the punchline before anything else. I believe you need to GET YOUR FATHER TO MEDICAL ATTENTION. Whether that be by calling 911 and having him evaluated in an ER or communicating with his physician who can give you direction or even come to your home to see him if he's not easily transportable due to his weight...whatever, I think he will get worse if he keeps on this same track for much longer.

I'm not sure about the foam around his mouth except to say that he may be suffering from dehydration or breathing through his mouth due to respiratory distress will tend to dry out his oral mucosa and lips. This could produce a foamy effect with the saliva that is in his mouth. If he is blowing out when he breathes then, he also may be sending saliva out of his mouth which will hang around his lips and accumulate.

When you say he "holds his breath while he is sleeping" this is not likely the case. What I mean is HE is not voluntarily holding his breath. Rather he is suffering from a condition known as SLEEP APNEA. This needs to be further evaluated and he needs to be fitted with special oxygen delivery equipment and systems otherwise, he will put additional stress on his heart which will make things even more complicated down the road. This needs immediate attention given the rest of his clinical picture.

If he's been incontinent for the past 3 days, is it because he is not waking up properly, not able to move well enough to get to the bathroom, or a combination of those things? He may have a urinary tract infection or he may be suffering from the effects of his diabetes which itself may not be under very control. One of the things that happens is POLYURIA which is when a patient goes frequently to the bathroom (day and night) due to the high concentrations of glucose in the bloodstream. This tends to draw water out of the body and get filtered into the kidneys. The result is having to go to the bathroom frequently.

I don't know about the ears being plugged but can assure you that of all the other problems he's having this one is the least important to worry about.

Finally, he feels very sick which suggests to me that his diabetes is likely not under good control.

For all the above reasons you must get him to a medical facility or get medical attention to him at home just as soon as possible. He requires a good deal of tuning up.

Would you please take a moment to send feedback on this conversation if I've provided you with information of value and use for your dad's condition. That would greatly be appreciated. You can write your comments and provide a rating which would be helpful to me so I can know if I was on target with what you were looking for in terms of help.

Also, if you have no further questions and understand what you need to do (GET YOUR DAD TO MEDICAL ATTENTION) could you CLOSE THE QUERY so that the network will know we satisfactorily addressed your needs and the case can be filed appropriately for review?

I wish you and your father all the best.

This consult required 19 minutes of physician specific time to review, research, and document in final draft for envoy to the patient.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
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