February 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Why do I awaken with shortness of breath?

As a new feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers’ questions. Here’s a question for Dr. Gupta.

Asked by Lucinda, Manhattan, Kansas

"I wake up several times a night with shortness of breath. This happens almost every hour during the night. I don't sleep on my back. What could this be?"


First of all, without knowing your full health history, I can’t make a diagnosis. But, Lucinda, let me say right off the bat that you should probably make an appointment with your doctor right away. And, let me tell you why.  From what you’ve described, it appears you may be experiencing something known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, or PND for short.

When a person suffers PND, he or she begins to experience shortness of breath several hours after going to bed. It then strikes suddenly and frequently during sleep, causing a person to wake up. Others experience shortness of breath only when they lie down on their back. This is known as orthopnea.

Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea is an abnormal condition that warrants some investigation. It can be a frequent symptom of a serious cardiovascular and respiratory problem. Again, you should make an appointment with your health-care provider as soon as possible to be evaluated, and if anybody is reading this with similar symptoms here are a few things to look for.

Before your appointment, begin writing down how often your are waking up experiencing shortness of breath, how long the attacks last, whether you have associated swelling in your feet and legs and the positions you are sleeping when it occurs. Also track what provides relief, if anything, for example, sleeping slightly propped up with pillows.

Bottom line, Lucinda, is these symptoms are your body’s way of alerting you something may be wrong. Being evaluated by your doctor is your best bet.

soundoff (737 Responses)
  1. furniture near me

    I really like it when folks come together and share ideas. Great website, keep it up!


    June 20, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. dq near me


    June 21, 2021 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. chiropractors near me

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Spending some time and actual effort to make a really good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a whole lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.


    June 21, 2021 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. jewelers near me


    June 21, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. bongdaso

    Trực Tiếp Bóng Đá Thời Điểm Hôm Nay, Links Xem Soccer Trực Tuyến 24h bong da truc tuyenĐội tuyển chọn futsal nước ta đã có được một trận đấu đồng ý được trước phe đối lập đầy sức mạnh Lebanon. Kết quả Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước ngày hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất Việt Nam.


    June 21, 2021 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Zane Bressler

    Is there automatic and legitimate copyright for the content on a site?


    June 21, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. fast food open near me


    June 21, 2021 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. bảng xếp hạng u18 đông nam á

    Links Coi Trực Tiếp Bóng Đá Futsal Việt Nam Vs Lebanon Vòng Chủng Loại World Cupman city vs liverpoolXem soccer trực tuyến Trực tiếp Odd BK vs Sarpsborg, 20h ngày 24/5, giải VĐQG Na Uy. Xem lịch phạt sóng trực tiếp soccer EURO hôm nay được Webthethao cập nhật chính xác nhất.


    June 21, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Emergency RV Repair Near Me

    I love it when folks come together and share opinions. Great website, keep it up!


    June 21, 2021 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. game đánh bài

    Coi Thẳng Viettel Vs Bình Dương Tại V League 2021 Ở Kênh Nào? keonhacaiĐội tuyển chọn futsal nước ta đã có một trận đấu đồng ý được trước đối thủ cạnh tranh đầy mức độ mạnh Lebanon. Kết trái Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước thời điểm hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất nước ta.


    June 21, 2021 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. old young

    hello there and thank you for your info – I've certainly picked up
    something new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this site,
    as I experienced to reload the site a lot
    of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I
    had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not
    that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your quality
    score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I'm adding this RSS to my email and can look out for
    a lot more of your respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this again very soon.

    June 21, 2021 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. national parks near me


    June 21, 2021 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. emergency vet near me

    Itís difficult to find knowledgeable people on this subject, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 21, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sprinter Van Windshield Replacement Shop

    I used to be able to find good info from your articles.


    June 21, 2021 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ups near me


    June 21, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Custom Van Repair

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own website now 😉


    June 21, 2021 at 23:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 2004 Mercedes Sprinter Engine Block Repair

    Good blog you've got here.. Itís difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    June 21, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. احتيال الخيارات الثنائية

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how
    could we communicate?

    June 21, 2021 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. www.pharmaceptica.com

    erectile supplements https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 22, 2021 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. financial memberships


    June 22, 2021 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Repair Centers Near Me

    Everything is very open with a really clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!


    June 22, 2021 at 02:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. marketing training online


    June 22, 2021 at 04:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. letou

    Xoilac Tv Trực Tiếp đá Bóng trực tiếp bóng đá hôm nayĐội tuyển futsal Việt Nam đã được một trận đấu đồng ý được trước đối thủ cạnh tranh đầy mức độ mạnh Lebanon. Kết trái Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước ngày hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất Việt Nam.


    June 22, 2021 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. tylekeo88

    Kết Quả Futsal Việt Nam Vs Lebanontv101vnTheo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania vào ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới cho futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội ko ngán Lebanon song sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch tranh tài, bạn hoàn toàn có thể sắp xếp việc làm


    June 22, 2021 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. truyen hinh truc tuyen todaytv vtc7

    Kết Quả Futsal Việt Nam Vs Lebanontruc tuyen vtv3Theo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania vào ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới cho futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội ko ngán Lebanon tuy nhiên sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi bên trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch thi đấu, quý khách hoàn toàn có thể chuẩn bị xếp công việc


    June 22, 2021 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Nearby RV Repairs

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It's always interesting to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from their web sites.


    June 22, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Places Near Me

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for providing this information.


    June 22, 2021 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Fred Femrite

    If I start a blog on Myspace, will it get listed in search engines like Google? If so, is there a way to keep them from being crawled?. . Thank you.


    June 22, 2021 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Social Media Marketing Agency Around Me

    Howdy! I just want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great information you have here on this post. I am coming back to your web site for more soon.


    June 22, 2021 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Brake Repair Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Video Marketing Companies Near Me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 23, 2021 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. قیمت پیچ و مهره

    Thanks in support of sharing such a pleasant idea, article is fastidious,
    thats why i have read it entirely

    June 23, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Leave a Reply to Social Media Marketing Experts


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.