Breathing struggle Life and death matter

Sun 20 Feb, 2011 11:23 am
My mother who has a cardiac condition is now suffering from breathing attacks on a more and more regular basis. She is now in hospital for a while, they have check everything, heart, lunghs , arteries.... and nothing seems to be the problem.
The attacks come mainly at night time., she suddenly feels some difficulties to find air supply and in a matter of minutes she gets no more air at all. She does not have fever, The emergency teams gives her oxygen and we do have supply at home as well but it seems that it is not the real issue as tests shows that she has enough oxygen in her blood.
Has anyone come accross this condition? What can do such effect on a body?
We are now thinking of a very strong allergic reaction to something.... what we don't know.
Please help, this is so worrying.
Thank you for your answers
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Sun 20 Feb, 2011 11:33 am

Breathing difficulty while lying down is an abnormal condition in which a person must keep the head elevated (by sitting or standing) to be able to breathe deeply or comfortably. The condition may also cause a person to wake up suddenly during the night feeling short of breath (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea).

Common Causes
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Cor pulmonale
Heart failure
Hypertensive heart disease
Obesity (does not directly cause difficulty breathing while lying down but often aggravates other conditions)
Panic disorder
Sleep apnea

Has your mom had a sleep study? She might have severe sleep apnea, where she stops breathing from time to time during sleep. Is she very overweight? That could exacerbate her problem. It also may be coming from her cardiac condition.

As you can see there are many causes of paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea. The docs need to check them all out.
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Sun 20 Feb, 2011 12:30 pm
I agree with Phoenix.

Rule out the physical and consider the psychologocial. Panic attacks come to mind.
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