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waking up gasping for air

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by fibrodude84, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. fibrodude84

    fibrodude84 Senior Member

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    I find that more often lately I wake up frantically gasping for air. It's really odd and scary because I feel like I have to try hard to force oxygen.

    This is mostly from sleep but sometimes just laying on my back awake I get it too.

    Any idea what this is or what can be done?
     
  2. adreno

    adreno PR activist

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    Sleep apnea?
     
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  3. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    @fibrodude84 - Have you tried laying on your side instead when it happens? I had problems for a while, first with being on my back, then on my right side as well. Though I think some people with the same problem have problem with the left side instead of the right side.

    If you have a finger pulse oximeter you can see what's happening on your back. In my case, my oxygen saturation would drop and my heart rate would rise. During very bad spells, I had to sit up hunched over until it subsided.
     
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  4. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    I would ask how long the gasping goes on. If it is for more than two minutes even after sitting up - really fighting for air and not really able to speak - then you should get medical advice, as that would sound like overloaded pulmonary veins from cardiac or kidney problems.

    If the gasping dies down after about half a minute to a minute and you feel OK again I agree with adreno that this might be sleep apnoea (when you think you were awake you might have nodded off without realising it). I also think this may be some sort of hypersensitivity of lung J receptors. Pulmonary venous pressure goes up in all of us when we lie down and I think it is conceivable that in some situations that lung is oversensitive to this. I can get something like this at night if it is very hot and I have done a lot of exercise that day. It would make sense to me that in ME the sensory sensitivity could do this, although that is me speculating again. I found I could get rid of my version by sleeping slightly propped up on three pillows and keeping a window open.

    The only thing I think would be important to check out, as I say, would be pulmonary venous overload, but if it is that it tends to go on a long time and you know something is badly wrong.
     
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  5. caledonia

    caledonia

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    I've had this. I believe it's some sort of central sleep apnea caused by a signalling problem in the brain due to methylation issues. Methylation treatment has been helpful in reducing the severity. I'm hopeful as I progress that this will eventually go away.

    I've tried the pillow/sleeping wedge thing but it didn't really help. It shows up on a pulse oximeter as a reduction in oxygen levels. Then I have a racing heart.

    If you're feeling oxygen deprived after one of these episodes, or after a night of "sleep" with these going on all night long, try some long slow deep breaths.
     
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  6. fibrodude84

    fibrodude84 Senior Member

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    Thanks guys, I thought of sleep apnea because it usually happens at night but it has happened a few times while awake and lying down too. Maybe you are right though Jonathan that I was pseudo awake. I will buy a finger monitor to check heart and oxygen. They are so expensive!

    I also just feel very congested in my throat. So annoying!
     
  7. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    @fibrodude84 ask your dr to send you for a sleep study. Many patient have sleep apnea and it needs to be ruled out.
     
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  8. fibrodude84

    fibrodude84 Senior Member

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    I just got this while driving so scary. Could it be overmethylation?
     
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member

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    I've had this on occasion, as well as a variation where I wake up and my heart is pounding but I am not gasping for air. The heart pounding goes on for several minutes and seems to be helped by deep breathing even though I really don't feel any "hunger" for air. I doubt the heart pounding is caused by nightmares because A) I don't recall any and B) the pounding goes on too long and doesn't feel like an adrenalin rush.

    A sleep study once did show a couple of episodes of central sleep apnea, but apparently not enough of them to be considered diagnostic. It was an abbreviated study since I only managed to sleep for about 3-4 hours. From other accounts I've seen on this forum an elsewhere, I suspect that central sleep apnea is more common in ME/cfs than in the general population.

    The type of central sleep apnea I have is called Cheyne-Stokes breathing. It is associated with congestive heart failure and stroke - but I have neither. It is tempting to connect it with the other "feedback loop" failures seen in ME.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
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  10. fibrodude84

    fibrodude84 Senior Member

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    I just took some niacin and potassium in case im over methylating.
     
  11. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    @fibrodude84 Sorry if you said this and I missed it but when you wake up gasping for air, are you also having tachycardia?
     

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