There are many situations that can awaken you from your sleep, it may be hunger, bathroom needs or a bad dream, but be alarmed when you are experiencing disturbed sleep by sudden and severe shortness of breath. You may be suffering from a serious medical problem called Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea (PND), it might not be lethal but it can be life-threatening.

Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea (PND) is sometimes called cardiac asthma. It is manifested by acute shortness of breath accompanied by coughing and wheezing, this situation can elevate your heart rate. It is caused by fluids accumulating on the lung’s airways because of the failure of the left side of the heart.

A decline of oxygen is evident because of the edema present in your lungs, thus causing the heart to overwork. The left side of the heart tries to compensate with the right side of the heart which triggers pulmonary distress.

People who commonly experience Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea (PND) at night is in a reclining position. They usually wake up between 30 minutes to 2 hours into sleep. The person should sit right up to alleviate the feeling of suffocation.

Treatment and Lifestyle of PND

When the feeling of suffocation arises, the instinctive ways of our body looks a way to find relief. Elevating your body by adding more pillows can also help. However, you have to treat the underlying cause of Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea. After consulting your physician, the following medications may be recommended for you:

  • Heart medication, to alleviate angina
  • Anti-hypertensive drugs
  • Diuretics, to eliminate the accumulating fluid
  • Bronchodilators
  • Supplementary oxygen

Other than the medication regimen, your lifestyle and diet should also be changed. Diet combined with physical activity has a major role in our health, it helps us maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote overall health.

With Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea you should establish dietary habits, thus observe a low-sodium diet to avoid fluid retention. Restrict your intake of condiments, fast food, frozen and canned food and processed foods. Diet without physical activity is incomplete, perform gentle and moderate exercises that are advisable for your health. It can help reduce the risk of complications.

Nonetheless, it is important to consult a physician first to be informed about your condition. Regularly monitor the condition and choose the recommended treatment options and alterations of your lifestyle.