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waking up gasping for air as I fall asleep (Page 3)

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August 20th, 2009
im finding a lot of my symptoms here. i'm 20 years old and i've been dealing with anxiety/depression for awhile now. i was taking prozac at one point but stopped, everything seemed to be going fine, i thought i had my panic disoder in control. then a few nights ago, this started happening... i'd find myself just about to drift off to sleep when all of a sudden im gasping for air, as if something struck me in the chest from within - something to that extent. im afraid to attempt sleep again, the feeling happens almost everytime i lay down, i've never had this problem before. i'm going to call the doctor today and scheduel an appointment, i have a feeling what he might already say. i also have acid reflux, quite bad at the moment too... any other specific suggestions friends? im happy to find im not the only one experiencing these problems... it's unfortunate, but let us all be hopeful.
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replied September 6th, 2012
oh gosh al you are saying has been happening to me 4 like 3 weeks an its getting worse im so scared that im not gana wake what is it why does this happen i have 5 kids im a solo mum if i didnt wake theird be no body here for the kids what shoul i do.
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replied August 20th, 2009
Gasping for Air
When you see your doctor today, I expect that he will check your heart. One possible connection to your symptom is that you may have developed a heart murmur. Which would explain your sudden gasping for air just as sleep begins or even during sleep. One of the symptoms of Valve Disease/ Heart Murmur is shortness of breath and/or difficulty catching your breath. You may notice this most when you are active or when you lie down flat in bed. You may need to sleep propped up on a few pillows to breathe easier. Another probable medical concern may be that you (like my daughter who is near your age) have developed a condition known as sleep apnea. It can occur at any age and is usually is passed on from parents to children. The good news is that it can be treated the serious news is that it needs to be treated since it can lead to heart disease. A sleep study test will need to be done in order for your doctor to make the diagnosis. I would recommend that you use diligence and urge him to refer you for testing. And if that is the problem, a current treatment is the "continuous positive airway pressure" (CPAP) device, which functions as a kind of oxygen mask worn over the nose to help force air into nasal passageways and prevent airways from collapsing. This devise has had life changing results on my daughter who like I mentioned is in her 20's. I hope this advise may be helpful .. good luck today with your doctor appointment .... and best wishes to you!
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replied September 1st, 2009
It has been really neat reading this discussion. I'm at the beginning of my road of trying to figure out what is wrong with me. I too wake up gasping for air. However, it's not every night. Maybe twice a week. Some episodes are small and some are big and very frightening. I feel like my heart has stopped and I sit up in bed gasping for air.
I've had an event monitor on my heart for a month. It showed that I had sinus arythmia (irregular heartbeats) and they found I have mitral valve prolapse. Both of which are very common and wouldn't cause my symptoms. At first the Dr game me some medication for my heart that only made things worse. So he told me to stop taking them. That's when he told me my problem was anxiety and prescribed me some Lorazepam. That was one week ago. I haven't started taking it though b/c I didn't want to accept that as a diagnosis without further testing. So he did a pulse ox test on me. My oxygen levels were 98 the whole night with the exception of a 8 minute period where it went down to 90. (Which surprised me b/c I didn't have an episode that night that I knew of.) He said that was enough to warrant having a sleep test done even though I don't exibit any of the sterotypical symptoms that most sleep apnea people have as far as being overweight, small necks, snoring, etc.
I received the call from the clinic yesterday wanting to schedule my test for October 27. My jaw about hit the floor though when they told me how much it was going to cost. We have a VERY high deductable so I'm going to have to pay for the full test! I'm really struggling with wondering whether or not I should have the test done or just accept that it could be anxiety. Even though that really makes no sense to me b/c I've never had problems with anxiety in the past and don't have any idea what could be causing it now.
The Dr did say if the sleep test comes back normal then they would do an echo and sono on my heart.

It sounds like most of ya'll had all the tests done.

So do you think I should go through all the testing too or just accept that it could be anxiety and let it go? I hate to spend all this money and time on this.
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replied September 2nd, 2009
my issue.
its been two years ; where i been having breathinq problems ; its like my head hurts; my eyes are heavy ; my back and ribs are always hurting and when i tried to go to sleep on my stomach i wake up gasping for air ;
like i qet real scared and dont even wanna qo to sleep until i fall alsleep on my own but if anybody experience this write back to my messaqe

Rockville,connecticut
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replied September 7th, 2009
Sometimes this gasping for breath when asleep can be due to acid reflux. I have found relief by not eating before bed, or using antacids before bed. Just something else to consider.
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replied September 7th, 2009
What you are describing is typical of sleep apnea. THIS IS NOT PSYCHOLOGICAL. It is a matter of anatomy. If you have a large uvula or soft palate in a certain position, that can fall back and block your breathing.
Problem is, that most persons have episodes of apnea - apnea means on air to the brain- that does NOT wake them up.
Sleep apnea can be extremely bad for your health, but it is readily treatable.
In the mentime, sleeping on your left side can help.
Check out doctors/clinics that specialize in sleep apnea in your town.
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replied September 20th, 2009
I to have been suffering from this. my first attack was the other night I woke up and I has just about falling asleep and sat up and gasped for air and then paniced even more. I hate the feeling so now I'm scared to go to sleep. I went to the ER that night and everything was fine my blood work, EKG and BP everything looks great I have a few short attacks that made me feel like I couldnt breath and my Respers went down to 7-8 which made a bell go of which in return made it worse. How do you deal with something like this?
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replied September 20th, 2009
I had the exact same symt. They did a sleep study, and aid what I had was sleep starts. Hope it helps.
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replied September 28th, 2009
To all of you sufferers of this falling asleep and waking up gasping for breath, I too have had it and I go to a wonderful naturopath and she has discovered it is low blood sugar.
When we go to sleep, sometimes our blood sugar levels drop dramatically, sometimes too much and this causes the gasping etc. I find it usually happens when I have had a day that I eat a biscuit or something I shouldn't because I have low blood sugar levels on the best of days, so I have to watch my diet.
I think stress and all that comes into it as well. I used to have it happen quite regularly but now I know how to prevent the problem, I experience it maybe once a year or something. Thank goodness, because one does feel that they are dying.
Laine
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replied September 29th, 2009
gasping for breath in sleep
I have this gasping problem occasionally when I am sleeping but I do not snore and have low BP, no health issues except I am being treated for anxiety and panic attacks during the day. Since I don't snore and my husband has been awake during the episode and said I seemed fine right beforehand, I believe it is a panic attack. I am actually afraid to look into sleep apnea since the thought of not breathing is terrifying. The other thing is the more I worry about it the more it happens, That doesn't sound like sleep apnea since it is out of your control. When this happened a few years ago my doc thought it was anxiety. She said people don't usually know when they are having apnea.
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replied February 22nd, 2010
Queenie63, I had exactly what you describe. I was training super hard at the time. I am thinking low blood sugar/nocturnal panic attack. Not sure which, or what mix. It was very frightening, but only happened once like that. Since, just a few less severe versions.
Post if you find anything else about it. Thanks!
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replied April 5th, 2010
I had the same symptoms. I use to get up and start shaking my head and gasping for air just when I was about to fall asleep. I would wake up and feel like I was about to die. It got so bad that I was afraid of falling asleep. Short while after I started developing breathing problems and random heart palpitations. I talked to my doctor who told me to eat a light dinner and ordered me to not eat anything at least 4 hours before sleeping. I did just that and started walking around my block after dinner as well. I haven''t woke up gasping for air ever since. It worked for me maybe someone else can benefit from it.
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replied June 2nd, 2010
Pressure on my chest
I suffer from anxiety attacks. It started a year and a half ago. Luckily I had it under control or so it felt. I was in a motor vehicle accicent about two weeks ago. I broke my knee and as a result of this I am lying in bed. Last night I could not sleep and when I suddenly did fell asleep I woke up in a dream state feeling pressure on my chest - like the life is been squeezed out om me. The pain was so intense like nothing I have experienced ever before. I panic and suddenly came to light. My heart was beating fast. Today I am stressing all over again. Is something wrong (maybe from the accident)or is it just the attacks that creeped up on me.
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replied July 15th, 2010
coping with panic attacks and the night things, hope it helps
hello, I have been dealing with panic attacks for 16 yrs. I have been on Zoloft and Xanax(for major panic attacks) for 11 out of those 16 yrs. If you have severe panic attacks I would ask the doctor about a medicine to help take care of it. If it is mild and you can control it I wouldnt, the withdrawls on the medication are horrible. But trust me, I have been in the Emergency room a million times and thinking I was dying. I would rather have to take one little pill once a day for the rest of my life than to have to deal with the panic attacks. Also, if you ever start with a rapid heart beat and then the rest of the symptoms come, I would ask the doctor about your heart. I have come to find out that I have a short circuit in my heart that makes it race for no reason and that would throw me into a panic attack. I started taking a medicine called metroprolol. This is a medicine that helps control your heart rate. It is not life threatening but it will scare the hell out of you. With the combination of my zoloft and my metroprolol I can halfway live a normal life. I even held a job for 15 months until I was laid off. I had never been able to do that before. Now as far as the night things go. I have those episodes,once every couple of months. Mine is normally caused by heartburn or an asthma attack.The things that I find that work the best is try laying on your left side, and if that doesnt work, try propping yourself into an almost sitting posision. One or the other always works for me and it is normally only for the one night. Hope this helps
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replied July 19th, 2010
Someone tell me I'm not crazy
I really need some help. I'm 18 years old, healthy that I know of.
Lastnight I was laying in bed with my boyfriend, he had already passed out and I was at that stage where I was probably ready to sleep any second. And out of no where my stomach starts twitching, it almost felt like I was sucking my stomach in and out but had no control over it. It jerked so hard that it made me completely wake up and immediately my heart started racing. I tried to ignore it but it happened 2 more times that way.
Then it moved to my breathing, I would get bck to that stage where I was just about to sleep and I would all of a sudden gasp for air and jump right up holding my chest. (It seems almost like one of those horror movies where someone's having a bad dream and it scares them so bad they sit up panicking out of a deep sleep)
It continued to do that for about an hour and every time it would do it, it gradually got worse. Another symptom came along every time I was awakened gasping for air. My vision was very messed up. It's almost like it froze. I would be staring straight ahead and then turn to look elswhere and it's like that first image stuck in my eyes but I was looking somewhere else. It sounds so crazy and I'm embarassed to even tell anyone but I am scared about what's going on.
I also experienced very weird leg pain, almost like a painful, bruised, burning sensation.
The weirdest thing was that I was laying there about to fall asleep, yet again, and instead of waking gasping for air I awoke to the sound of a motorcycle, right in my ear, very loud... loud enough that it scared me and I jumped up then started gasping for air.
We live clear out in the country where vehicles never go by, plus down a long lane.
It seemed so real I woke my bf up to check outside.
Also I was getting bad pains in my head and neck, it felt like someone was taking a hammer and pounding my skull and i ended up with a pressure headache.

I know you people will think I'm nuts, but I know I wasnt dreaming, it was all real and I just want to know if anyone else has ever experieced this, I'm scared
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replied July 20th, 2010
I dont think you are crazy. I think most of it was a panic attack. Trust me the night ones are the worst. I would go see a doctor though, The pains in the legs and in your head sound like they need to be examined by a doctor. If he tells you there is nothing wrong, than thats good, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
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replied August 5th, 2010
Same stuff, different guy. I've started to tell my self 'Don't Panic!' Even when i bolt up out of a deep sleep and can't breath. I've stopped waking my wife for help and I haven't died yet! This is all pure anxiety folks. If you're under stress and this happens, address your stress and I guarantee your symptoms will improve. Good luck.
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replied August 10th, 2010
MandMs wrote:
A panic attack typically lasts ten minutes, or, somewhere between 1-20 minutes.
More severe panic attacks may form a series of episodes waxing and waning every few minutes, lasting for a period of up to two hours, only to be ended by physical exhaustion and sleep.
In conditions of chronic anxiety, one panic attack can roll into another, leading to nervous exhaustion over a period of hours or even days.

Many medical illnesses can cause symptoms that mimic panic attacks, including heart disease, asthma, cerebrovascular disease, epilepsy, hormone abnormalities, infections and disturbances in levels of certain blood chemicals.


Do you get similar attacks during day, too?


i wake up after falling asleep and cant breathe like a fish out of water my doc didi all the appropriate test nothing medically wrong stress it seems all my problems except 4 my chronic apin caused by 2 failed fusions are panic attacts ativan doesnt even work like it used to..
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replied October 30th, 2010
I to have this feelings I work swing shift I go through out the day normaly at work but when I start to realize it's quiting time my mind starts thinking about sleep and that's when it happens I start feeling my heart beat in my chest and fear of going home and going to sleep. I get home everyones asleep and I ley in bed thinking and trying to go to sleep but can't seam to because I feel out of breath and think by heart is going to stop. I wake up gasping for air or holding my chest thinking iam dyeing, I fear of going to sleep is so great that by mind and body get so tired that I just pass out. I've gone to my doctor and he has sent me to a heart specialist and sleep specialist but they have both said it's anxiaty but I think thir crazy I think their is something severly wrong with me. What do you think
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replied November 2nd, 2010
well i dont think any1 is crazy on here i think you r all very strong,as i no i have suffred terribly since i woz a little girl,but this is a new 1 on me,this falling 2 sleep and just as your r seconds from sleep stop breathing and wake a very odd feeling and very scary,also when i have slept all night i wake up in the morning and the oddest feeling inside me witch i cant even describe but il try,its like a feeling of uneasyness i just cant lay in bed wen i wake becouse this strange feeling happemds,and then slight shortness of breath,but if i get streight up as soon as i open my eyes it doesnt happen,its like anshetic after an opp,but i dont get a fast heart or shake or anything,rather odd,please if any1 can understand what im trying 2 exsplain please reply,coz im realy scared thats something wrong with me,also i have had 3 ecg this year all fine so i stumped,b strong every1,love from your friend me Smile xxxxxxxxxx
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