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Thread: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

  1. #1

    Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    Hi All

    I hope you're doing okay. I've been experiencing something recently which is starting to really concern me. I often wake up in the night absolutely gasping for breath (as in sit up bolt up right shouting about how I can't breath) or wake up feeling as if I'm choking. Dr google would suggest sleep apnea, but I'm a 30 year old woman, not overweight or any of the other usual symptoms. I'm reluctant to go to my doctor as I feel like if I get sent for a sleep monitor the symptoms won't happen during the night and i'll look like an idiot. Has anyone else experienced symptoms like this or been diagnosed with sleep apnea but isn't the "typical" sufferer?

    Warm regards
    Zigs xx

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    704

    Re: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    Sleep apnea is still possible. May not be very likely, but it'd be worth mentioning to your doc, especially if you have daytime symptoms of sleep apnea. I've considered asking my doc about it because I snore, and I have woken up in the night gasping and such, like you mentioned. 30, male, also not overweight, but a smoker. It's possible. I also have daytime symptoms sometimes.

    Aside from that, anxiety is possible, too, IMO. Waking up from a bad dream/nightmare or similar. Even if you don't remember it, it's possible. And possibly even more likely than sleep apnea.

    I do think mentioning it to your doc would be a good idea.

  3. #3

    Re: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    Zigs,

    I've suffered what you suffer for a good many years and I too put it down to sleep apnea episodes. I eventually did go to a sleep clinic and was tested and they said they were fairly sure I did not have sleep apnea.

    I think for me this is just another case of anxiety maninfesting itself through my sleep. I'm a naturally anxious person and when the body closes down at night and muscles relax the mind things there is an issue and jolts you up with a shot of adrenaline to wake you up. The whole episode leaves you dis-orietnated and gasping for breath. It's a typical fight or flight bodily response.

    I look after my sleep health much more know. I turn off the PC 2-3 hours before bedtime. Read a book or catch some easy watching TV to relax. Do some meditation and deep breathing especially with the lights off as this will reduce cortisol production and increase melatonin production. I'm still a little anxious with my sleep and can wake with a few jolts now and then but I put it down to anxiety and just relax again. Once I get over the first 1-2 hours I find I'm never awoken again. The mind has now rested as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    376

    Re: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    Sleep apnea is possible even for young and not overweight folks. My 11 year old has sleep apnea. You might have sleep apnea or you might have anything from allergies and post nasal drip to bad dreams.

    I'd talk to your dr about it but it's not an emergent situation
    __________________
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  5. #5

    Re: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    I have had this experience on and off for at least 35 years never been tested but while asleep the sensation of choking gives me vivid nightmares of choking on all types of things and when it finally wakes me up I ussually run to the bath room to try and retreave what ever i dream Im choking on , it is very unpleasant and can wake up my partner who is very understanding and calms me down, its late summer and the choking has been happening for about a week now maybe its the dry air?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    356

    Re: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScaredLizard View Post
    Sleep apnea is possible even for young and not overweight folks. My 11 year old has sleep apnea. You might have sleep apnea or you might have anything from allergies and post nasal drip to bad dreams.

    I'd talk to your dr about it but it's not an emergent situation
    The portion in bold needs to be emphasized again.. this odd internet thing of just old and fat people getting it is flat out (dangerously) wrong. I have been using a CPAP for two years now, and it has flat out saved my life; if you think you are having this issue, go get checked.
    Something many people dont know- there are two types of apnea:
    - Obstructive - this is where your airway is physically blocked, either by the soft pallet falling back, or the airway itself collapsing. Weight CAN excaserbate this, but it can happen in thin people as well.
    - Central - this is where, dispite your airway being clear, you stop breathing anyway. This is a disorder of the central nervous system, and can happen to ANYONE.
    Thankfully, both types of apnea are well recognized (if you have it, a sleep clinic WILL find it), and are treatable (simply using the correct machine at night while sleeping). Frankly, having it and NOT treating it is far, far worse (ask me know i know.....)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    65

    Re: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    I get this, and I know itís scary. Sometimes, but not always, I can feel a little acid in my throat, so I think it might be reflux related. Iíve told the doc before, and she thought it sounded like nighttime panic attacks, but Iím not so sure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    110

    Re: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    I've had this a few time over the last year. My gp daid it reflux. It causes temporary vocal cord paralysis. Its frightening but doesn't cause problems. Take some gaviscon before bed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    3,026

    Re: Sleep apnea / waking up choking or not breathing?

    Quote Originally Posted by 87zigs View Post
    Hi All

    I hope you're doing okay. I've been experiencing something recently which is starting to really concern me. I often wake up in the night absolutely gasping for breath (as in sit up bolt up right shouting about how I can't breath) or wake up feeling as if I'm choking. Dr google would suggest sleep apnea, but I'm a 30 year old woman, not overweight or any of the other usual symptoms. I'm reluctant to go to my doctor as I feel like if I get sent for a sleep monitor the symptoms won't happen during the night and i'll look like an idiot. Has anyone else experienced symptoms like this or been diagnosed with sleep apnea but isn't the "typical" sufferer?

    Warm regards
    Zigs xx
    I have these symptoms but no sleep apnoea. (I was tested)
    __________________
    Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

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