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Ex-smoker, had an episode of breathing difficulty which eased on kneeling, later had coughing fit. Possible causes?

Hi - I woke up with a start at 5am not able to breathe. I m not sure if I was lying on my front or my back. I had to sit/kneel and then actually get out of bed before I was able to get a proper breath. I had a bit of a coughing fit afterwards, but returned to bed. My heart was never racing at all. This has happened a one or twice before, but the difficulty getting breath was worse this time. I am borderline overweight/obese but exercise regularly - 3/4/5 times a week and eat healthy, freshly cooked food 5/6times a week. I m 32 years old, ex-smoker (sometimes I have a few ciggies when I drink though) but generally of pretty good health. I m sure a general checkup is in order, and I plan to have one. I guess I d just like to know what may have caused this?
Asked On : Sat, 13 Oct 2012
Answers:  2 Views:  20
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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist 's  Response
You may have suffered a bit of gastric reflux whilst asleep. The acidic fluid can cause a violent coughing fit when it irritates your larynx. If this happens again then I would suggest sleeping in a propped up position rather than flat. I would also suggest mentioning to your doctor at your check-up. Trying an antacid will also help.
Dr K A Pottinger,
Answered: Sat, 13 Oct 2012
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Nephrologist Dr. Rakesh Madhyastha's  Response

Thanks for the query

From the description you have given it looks like you are having symptoms secondary to a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which simply means that you have been smoking a lot.
Dont worry, please approach a physician for a chest x ray and echo. You will need to be on certain medications which will prevent it

Answered: Wed, 18 Sep 2013
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