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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Asthma

Question: Asthma, sleeping and panicking

 Calla Lily - Mon May 05, 2008 4:28 am

I was diagnosed with asthma about 10 years ago when I lived in Denver. It was being triggered by the cold weather, hay, pollen, and grasses. I moved to Southern California five years ago and haven't had any problems at all...until recently.

A little over a week ago, I started noticing that I was getting short of breath doing the simplest things and that I had started wheezing sometimes. My dad suggested that it might be a result of the fires we had northeast of here, as he'd noticed some ash on the cars. Then we had several days of very hot weather, followed by several days of cooler weather (yay!) If it was the smoke and ash from the fire, it should have stopped by now, as we've had cool breezes and even rain the other night, which should have blown it all eastward.

My breathing has gotten worse. I'm scheduled to see my doctor in a couple of weeks, and I hope I won't have to go in sooner. My main problem is that sometimes when I'm trying to go to sleep, I feel as if I can't breathe. I've tried to sleep partially lying down and also sitting up. Sitting up works better for me, but still sometimes just as I start to fall asleep, I'm suddenly awake and trying to get air.

I do have sleep apnea, but it's never affected me like this before, and it shouldn't affect me when I'm sitting up anyway. When I wake myself up gasping for air, I start to panic, which makes it worse, and it takes awhile for me to relax again. And yet there are times when I sleep with no problems for several hours at a time, so I am getting some rest.

I'm on disability and rarely go out, but I do leave my window open all day and evening, so it's possible some allergens are coming in that way, although I've never triggered off anything here before. After a couple of years of living here in Southern California and not having any asthma symptoms, I stopped getting the albuterol inhalers from the doctor. I guess I need to start that up again.

My main concern is the panicky feeling I'm getting when I'm trying to sleep.
 Dr. A. Madia - Fri May 16, 2008 12:43 pm

User avatar Hi,

Asthma sysmptoms are always characterized by wheezing. the wheeze that you felt recently would be because of asthma. As also the fact that you got short of breath on slight exertion.

However this seems to have led you to a state of anxiety and that is waht causing you the trouble while falling asleep.

Yes, you might need the albuterol again. But meanwhile try taking some OTC anti histamine {anti allergic} like fexofenadine or Cetirizine till you see your doctor and get a pulmonary function test done.

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