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    Suggest treatment for sleep apnea and shortness of breath

Posted on Mon, 24 Jul 2017 in Brain and Spine
Question: I have been waking up in the middle of the night not breathing and having to catch my breath. Very scary. I saw a sleep specialist and have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and am getting a c-pap machine. Fine, but now, I have been experiencing the breathing problem while I'm awake. It has occurred twice this past week where I just feel like I have stopped breathing automatically and have to do deep breathing in and out by counting to 4 on the in and 4 on the out to get my breathing automatic again. I don't even know what kind of doctor to ask about that. What is wrong with me? am I going to need to go on oxygen? Can you help me at least know what type of doctor I need to diagnose this?

f it helps to tell you, I just quit smoking after 25 years of smoking in this past march. Also, 7 years ago, I was on a ventilator for 3 days after taking a deadly handful of pills. I just thought this information might help you figure out what is wrong with me. I also suffer from anxiety and that gives me shortness of breath, too.
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 29 minutes later
Brief Answer:
panic attack?

Detailed Answer:

individuals with anxiety may sometimes experience panic attacks heralded by fear (some believe they're dying), fast heart rate and shortness of breath. If this fits your case then this should be a typical panic attack. In any case (even if the symptoms are different) only anxiety may cause the symptom you've described. No organic disorder may cause it in otherwise healthy individuals. The rest (besides the anxiety) of your history does not seem relevant.

I hope you find my comments helpful!
Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 36 minutes later
well that does ease my mind a bit. Yes, I suffer from great worry and anxiety. I'm guessing a psychiatrist is who I need to see about this. I have one and have asked her about anxiety medication before, but she wouldn't give me any. I have a history of alcoholism. I'm not looking for any street drugs. I'd like something non-addictive that could just help with the panic attacks. I hope next time I see her, she can help me out with something. I've heard of Busbar or something that is good for addicts. Let me know if you know of any non-addictive panic attack drugs that would be helpful and I can run them by her.

So, are you saying that these panic attacks occur even while I sleep?
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 5 minutes later
Brief Answer:
the sleep problems are different

Detailed Answer:
You've mentioned a diagnosis of sleep-apnea so this is enough to explain the nocturnal symptoms. The symptoms you're experiencing during the day are of different origin. A psychosomatic disorder is the most likely mechanism (caused by anxiety).

If you have a fast heart rate then using a beta blocker may help a lot. Remember to ask your doctor for approval though. Some patients are not appropriate candidates for such treatment!

Kind regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3692 Questions


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