Having trouble breathing! I feel like if I fall asleep

Patient

Q: Having trouble breathing! I feel like if I fall asleep I will stop breathing. When I start to doze off I snap awake after about 30 sec because I can feel myself holding my breath. Parts of me feel tingly if I don't wake up sooner. I am feeling like my breathing is no longer natural and I am having to force my lungs to expand! What should I do??

Symptoms:  Difficulty breathing
Doctor

A:   Hello
Welcome to Ask The Doctor.

Thanks for trusting us for your health issues. Most commonly such issues occur as a result of Anxiety.
However, following two possibilities should be ruled out:
1. Bronchial Asthma.
2. Cardiac issues.
Breathlessness in night which awakens you from sleep is usually a sign of Heart Failure and is called as Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea (PND).
This PND required evaluation.

I would advise in such scenario:
1. Hemogram with ESR
2. ECG
3. Chest Xray
4. Pulmonary Function Test
5. ECHO
If cardiac issues are found you would be treated accordingly, else you will be treated for asthma.
Your doctor would evaluate you clinically. If you don't have severe chest congestion, he would treat you with anti-allergic drugs like Levocetrizine and Montelukast. He may add deriphylline or doxophylline for the chest spasms.
If your chest congestion is very severe and there are wheezes and rhonchi's, then inhalers containing bronchi dilators like Salbutamol would be required.
You might also require short dose of Steriod inhaler like Budenoside.
Share my opinion with your doctor before acting upon it.

I hope it helps.
Stay Healthy

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