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September 27, 2016
By L. Carr, Contributing Columnist

Being short of breath after a run or when you are
experiencing extreme stress is normal – everyone has a little
difficulty breathing after heavy exercise or a period of
anxiety. But if you are having trouble breathing when you are
otherwise relaxed and lying down, this can be a cause for

It is hard to estimate how many people every year suffer
from trouble breathing when lying down – it is a common
sign of many different health issues and conditions. But that
doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Breathlessness or
difficulty breathing when you lie down can be a sign that
something is seriously wrong with your heart or your lungs.
Find out more right now.

What Is Breathlessness or Trouble Breathing?

The medical term for trouble breathing is "dyspnea". Difficulty
breathing happens when you find it difficult to take a breath.
You feel like you cannot breathe. It occurs when your body
needs more oxygen than it is receiving. So it tries to get you
to breathe faster, so you get more oxygen-rich air into the
lungs.  And breathing faster feels more stressful and
traumatic, which in turn causes you to breathe faster still.

What Are the Causes of Difficulty Breathing Lying Down?

For many people, the problem occurs when they are lying
down, whether that is sleeping or simply resting. Breathing
difficulty when lying down is also known as paroxysmal
nocturnal dyspnea and it can because you to wake up at
night feeling like you cannot breathe.

A number of different health conditions can cause trouble
breathing when you lie down. These include panic and
anxiety disorder, respiratory infections, asthma, sleep apnea,
snoring, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
obesity, and heart disease.

If you have heart disease your heart muscles are not working
properly, and you are not getting the oxygen round the body
that you need when you lie down – the heart has to work
harder when you lie down to pump blood around the body.

If you are obese or
overweight you may have difficulty
breathing when you lie down because the extra weight
causes extra pressure on the diaphragm and lungs.

You may also have trouble breathing when you lie down too
soon after eating. The food pressing down on your
diaphragm from your stomach prevents you from breathing
easily – try waiting a few hours after you eat before you lie
down if this happens to you often.  

Do You Have Other Symptoms As Well As Trouble Breathing?

If your breathing problems are due to COPD then you may
also have symptoms of chronic couching, difficulty breathing
when you take exercise, wheezing, and chest infections like
Symptoms of sleep apnea also include difficulty staying
asleep, feeling tired, snoring, and headaches and sore throat
on waking.

If you also have the following symptoms and you have
trouble breathing when you lie down, contact a doctor as
soon as possible: chest pains, shooting pain in the arms,
shoulder or neck, fever, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate,
dizziness, or a weak pulse.

We looked at recent scientific studies to see what you can do
about the major causes of breathing difficulties when lying
down – here are seven ideas for solving a breathing problem.

Beat Pollution to Solve Breathing Difficulties Due to
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name
that refers to a collection of diseases of the lungs including
emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive
airways disease.

Over 12 million adults have been diagnosed with COPD,
according to a 2004 study by the University of Kentucky
Medical Center, and around 9.2 million have chronic
bronchitis and 2 million emphysema. The conditions can cause
trouble breathing while lying down.

A 2014 study from the National Technical University of Athens
in Greece found a new way to help patients deal with
breathing difficulties due to COPD --- smartphones and

For patients with COPD, exposure to air pollutants causes
breathing problems. Wearable or environmental sensors can
inform users of polluted environments and help them avoid
locations that could cause problems. The devices could also
help people with breathing difficulties due to asthma.

Breath Training Could Help Treat Breathing Difficulties

Lung cancer patients often experience breathlessness,
including the problem of trouble breathing while lying down.

A 2015 study from the Hull York Medical School in the UK
shows that just one session of breathing training helps to
improve breathing for patients with lung cancer.

Breathlessness, including trouble breathing lying down, is a
problem for 90 percent of lung cancer patients. A single
session of breathing training helped to improve
breathlessness intensity and improve other breathlessness
measures, researchers said.

Treat Breathing Difficulty Lying Down Due to Asthma with
Vitamin D?

Asthma is a cause of difficulty breathing lying down. A 2016
study by the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at
Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom
shows that for people with asthma,
Vitamin D supplements
added to standard treatment can reduce the risk of severe
asthma attacks.

Researchers analyzed the results of nine different studies and
found that the risk of admission to hospital due to severe
asthma attack was reduced from 6 percent to 3 percent
following supplementation with vitamin D.

Snoring Causing Breathing Difficulties? Try Singing

If you are a chronic snorer this can cause difficulty breathing
normally at night.

The results of a 2013 study from Exeter University and the
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust in the UK
reveal that a program of vocal exercises developed by a choir
director can actually help reduce snoring and help improve

The study found that singing exercises helped develop throat
muscles and alleviated the symptoms of obstructive sleep
apnea, resulting in a reduction in snoring.

For the study, researchers looked at 60 chronic snorers and
60 people with sleep apnea, giving them a program of singing
exercises to follow or no intervention.

The patients who completed the daily singing exercises
reduced the severity of their snoring and improved sleep
quality, compared to no changes in the people who did not
complete the exercises.

Trouble Breathing Lying Down is a Sign of Sleep Apnea

As mentioned above, trouble breathing while sleeping is a
sign of sleep apnea. Around 18 million Americans have this
condition, although only 20 percent have been diagnosed and
treated, according to experts.

According to a new 2016 study from the Sleep Center at the
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, an implantable,
nerve-stimulating device improved symptoms of the condition
including trouble breathing.

The therapy is called hypoglossal nerve stimulation and it is
effective for patients who cannot tolerate other treatment like
a sleep mask that delivers a continuous flow of air, according
to study leaders.

Learn How to Control Breathing Difficulties Associated with
Panic Disorders

Panic disorders can cause breathlessness, while lying down
or standing up, as hyperventilation makes it harder to control
breathing, and oxygen levels drop.

Improving breathing can also help reduce other symptoms of
panic disorder.

A 2010 study from Southern Methodist University in Dallas
shows that normalizing breathing can reduce symptoms of
panic and hyperventilation. The study says that the breathing
program is more effective than traditional cognitive therapy
at reducing these symptoms.

The treatment program is called Capnometry-Assisted
Respiratory Training, or CART. It helps patients breathe in a
way that reverses hyperventilation where patients practice
twice a day with simple breathing exercises. The study looked
at 41 people with panic disorder.

Cure Breathing Difficulties Lying Down Associated with

When you are obese, lying down can bring breathing
difficulties as the excess weight presses down on the
diaphragm or lungs.

The simple way to reduce breathing problems is to lose

A 2016 study from the College of Agriculture and Life
Sciences at Virginia Tech says one simple swap can help you
improve your health and reduce obesity levels. Swap one can
of cola or sweetened beverage for a glass of water, and your
waistline will benefit – and your breathing, too.

The researchers looked at data from the 2007-2012 National
Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES),
involving over 19,000 American adults.

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Eating Soy Reduces Sperm Count
Whey Versus Creatine -Which One Is Better?
Why Asian Men Don't Get As Much Prostate Cancer
Getting more Vitamin D from the sun
can help your breathing problems.
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