All of a sudden i wont be able to take a breath in. I feel like im choking. Ill panic for a couple of seconds trying to force the breath in. When that doesnt work i force myself to cough hard. That usually gets me breathing again. I usually will continue coughing for a bit and my throat gets very sore from it. Its happened twice while sleeping and once while just sitting up relaxing. Its terrifying. Im afraid one day the coughing wont work. Any ideas?
You could have sleep apnea where you stop breathing during your sleep times. This is determined by a test and if you have the disorder you will need a device called a CPAP or BiPAP which you will wear when you sleep. It gently forces air into your nose and lungs so you don't stop breathing. You wake much more refreshed.
As for the daytime, are you dozing off when you stop breathing? Are you anxious? Either of these are possible and could be your problem. It would seem anxiety or panic would cause you to need to cough in order to breathe. If you have sleep apnea at night, you aren't getting adequate rest and can easily doze off briefly during the day. Only you can answer the question about anxiety or panic.
I get the same thing, only I never tried coughing. I asked a doctor about this several years ago and he called it "stoking" I've looked up a couple of times and couldn't find much on it other than it has something to do with my heart condition, and I was also told that it was related to sleep apnea. So you may want to do as kasmama suggests and check into a sleep study or better yet the next time you are at your doctor's talk it over with them.
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