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What causes difficulty breathing while sleeping?

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Posted on Mon, 16 May 2016
Question: The last couple of evenings I have not slept well. I'll wake up and can't catch my breath. If I fall back asleep I wake up right away. I think I stop breathing for a bit or something. I have a cough for the last week but no discolored phlegm, just a lot of spit. My head is light, but no headache and my throat is soar. I smoke cigarettes, maybe three or four cigs a night after dinner. Don't drink and have not smoked today.
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Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah (42 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Can you kindly report your weight and height to me?

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry to hear about this difficulty sleeping well because of this breathing issue. I will like to know what your weight and height are as this could be a contributing factor. However, this may require that you get a sleep study which means you would be monitored in a laboratory during a sleeping episode to understand what precisely goes on for diagnosis and treatment. With these breathing difficulties, I will also suggest you reconsider your decision of continuing with cigarettes smoking as this is not good for respiration, the lungs and your overall health state.

I hope this helps. I wish you well. Feel free to ask for more information and clarifications if need be. Above all, thanks for using our services.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Ivo Ditah (5 minutes later)
I'm 5 foot 8, and 212 lbs.
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Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah (13 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
This could be sleep apnea! See a sleep physician!

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

This is likely sleep apnea from the weight and height you have reported? Do you snore at night? I will suggest you see a sleep physician for further investigations and management. You may need an assistive device for breathing at night if this persists and the findings suggest so.

Keep me posted about this. I wish you well.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Ivo Ditah

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 3994 Questions

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What causes difficulty breathing while sleeping?

Brief Answer: Can you kindly report your weight and height to me? Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am so sorry to hear about this difficulty sleeping well because of this breathing issue. I will like to know what your weight and height are as this could be a contributing factor. However, this may require that you get a sleep study which means you would be monitored in a laboratory during a sleeping episode to understand what precisely goes on for diagnosis and treatment. With these breathing difficulties, I will also suggest you reconsider your decision of continuing with cigarettes smoking as this is not good for respiration, the lungs and your overall health state. I hope this helps. I wish you well. Feel free to ask for more information and clarifications if need be. Above all, thanks for using our services.