Choking While Sleeping – Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Have you experienced waking up at night because you suddenly choked? It can be a scary health condition but the cause may be attributed to sleep apnea disorder. Sleep apnea may not be dangerous at first but it could lead to other serious health problems.


Related Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Coughing when sleeping
  • Snoring and waking up
  • Sleeping and gasping for air
  • Breathing pauses when sleeping (around 5 to 10 seconds)
  • Feels sleepy all day
  • Feels tired after sleeping for long hours

What Is Sleep Apnea (Obstructive Sleep Apnea)?

Sleep apnea is a health condition where the passageway of air get blocked. This causes the patient to suddenly choke and cough while sleeping. Usually, the choking happens together with a deep breath such us when one is snoring heavily.

What Causes Choking While Sleeping

Because of the blockage in the airway, the person tend to choke in order to gasp for air. This is a natural reflex of the body when there is no enough oxygen in the blood. The brain tells the body to take in more air, prompting the person to suddenly choke even while sleeping.

What Causes Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea has a variety of causes. Some of them at treatable while others may require lifestyle modification. The following the basic causes of choking while sleeping and therefore sleep apnea:

  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks before sleeping
  • Stress and fatigue
  • Loose tissues in the throat due to some infections
  • Uncomfortable sleeping position where the tongue blocks the airway

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea treatment is available from most sleep disorder clinics. There are cases when medication can help especially if the condition is mild. There are some apnea sprays that you can use provided they are recommended by your doctor. These throat sprays will make the throat firmer.

One should also modify his lifestyle especially to get rid of stress. Stress can contribute to many health conditions and diseases. Moreover, being overworked tend to make a person snore at night, increasing the chance for sleep apnea.

There are also treatment options where in CPAP machines are used which will blow air to the throat while sleeping. This prevents the tongue from dropping to the throat. Meanwhile, some surgery options are also available for very severe apnea cases.

Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea

  • Men and women ages 45 and above
  • Males are more likely to experience sleep apnea
  • Stressed people
  • Those who are obese or overweight
  • Those with high alcohol consumption

Some people have symptoms that naturally go away. However, if sleep apnea already affects your life, you should consult a sleep doctor.

References: MayoClinic, SleepApnea, NIH




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