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Dr. Chauhan
Dr. Chauhan, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  +26 years exp. Reviewer of top medical journals. Listed in Who's Who of the World.
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Last night I woke up suddenly and I couldnt breathe. I could

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Last night I woke up suddenly and I couldn't breathe. I could exhale but not inhale and there was this heavy sound when I tried to inhale. Needless to say panic was setting in after about a minute I was able to start getting a little air but was still taking heavy gasps when breathing. Can someone tell me what may have happened?

Hello & Welcome to Just Answer,

Are you overweight/ obese?

Any heart problems/ hypertension/ diabetes?

Any other medical problem or significant history?

What would be your sex and approximate age?

Thanks. Shall wait for your reply.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I am over weight, have hypertension but it is where it should be because I take medicine. I have never had heart problems but it ran in my mothers side of the family and only the males seem to have it. I am a female in my 60's. I am scared to death that the next time will be worse.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
There is another thing I forgot to mention, I have asthma and I had pneumonia in June but was cleared by my doctor.


Possibly you have just experienced a bout of ‘sleep apnea’ last night that is common in overweight adults (although more common in males), or it could be something to do with asthma. Surely your doctor would like to rule out any heart problem, diabetes, and check whether your throat and upper respiratory passage has any problems and if your asthma is happening at night (nocturnal asthma). You will need to check in with your doctors so that you get a thorough examination and go in for sleep studies, oxymetry, and pulmonary function tests/ spirometry , etc as well.

For more information on sleep apnea, please have a look at these links, which might be helpful to you:

For nocturnal asthma, please have a look at this link:

Please get yourself checked up as another episode can probably be prevented.

Hope that this helps. Best wishes. Please feel free to enquire if you have any remaining concerns or doubts. It shall be my privilege to help you as much as I possibly can.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Do you think that sleeping in a recliner would help any? I will go to the doctors on Monday unless you think I should go to the emergency room.


It may help but then it would be pertinent to know the cause of the episode, and that you have not developed anything new that could have aggravated the issue. Honestly I believe that a check in at ER would be helpful even if it turns out to be normal, as it would help provide reassurance, and if anything abnormal if detected then an appropriate management can be instituted.

Based on your descriptions alone and without the privilege of a detailed clinical examination, this is what I feel about your problem. Hope that it helps. Best wishes.

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