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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes breathlessness in the mid of the sleep?

Dear Doctor, In May 2011, this happened with me for the first time when I was not at home and was away for work. I was asleep and at night around 02:30 I started feeling uncomfortable in sleep. My eyes opened and I started feeling breathless. Also was feeling like I was about to lose consciousness. Luckily that day I had my colleague with me in the next room. I summoned his help. By that time I started sweating and my body was going cold. Suddenly my colleague gave me some sugar and a glass of water. After taking water and sugar I started gaining consciousness. Immediately within 30 seconds, I felt loose motion. I toilet I also vomited. After all this going on for almost 20-30 minutes, I was frightened. Slowly my body started breathing normally, but whole night this incident didn t allow me to sleep. Next day I consulted doctor, who told me that this happened due to dehydration and lack of enough sleep. Now again yesterday night I was having cold and fever. My whole nose and ear area was choked. I took Paracetamol, sprayed some Otravin, wore sweater, turned off the fan and went to sleep. Within 60 minutes my fever was gone, but I was not able to sleep. At around 03:00 night I started feeling that I am not able to breathe properly. I opened the door and went in balcony, but I was not gaining breathe. I didn t wanted to repeat the May 2011 scene so I immediately rushed to hospital. There first of all my heart beat rate was checked. Then blood pressure and finally blood sugar level. All found ok. There doctor gave me some breathing treatment with medicine to clear cold and help me breathe properly. The doctor asked me to take Taxim-O and Levocelvi....(something, I cannot read) My paternal history is 4/5 siblings (my father and his brother and sisters) has history of diabetes. My father passed away at the age of 49 due to cardiac arrest. This is the reason I am a bit worried and do not want to take chances with my health. I want to know whether the cause told in both the incidents are true? Shall I go for any other check-up? (The heart, blood pressure and sugar reports were normal in both incidents) What shall I do in emergency if this happens with me again?
Sat, 24 Nov 2018
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Neurologist 's  Response

Judging from your description I believe that those episodes are most likely in the setting of a anxiety, a panic attack.

There is no indication of something more serious taking place as has been confirmed by the normal exams. So I don't think there is any reason for alarm if an episode occurs then breathing relaxation exercises are advised.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Dr. Olsi Taka,
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