Shortness of breath after physical activity or solid health issues like stress and anxiety is normal. But experiencing shortness of breath when lying down and no other reason may indicate a serious medical condition.
An orthopnea is a medical term for discomfort when breathing while lying down flat. It happens because of fluids in the lungs. And once stood or sat up, the breathing may normalize again. However, orthopnea is different from other breathing conditions, such as,
Besides the aforementioned conditions, orthopnea is associated with other health conditions such as sleep apnea, obesity, heart failure, and many others, as explained in the following article.
Sleep apnea can be one of the reasons for an individual who can't breathe at night when lying down. It is a potential sleep disorder in an individual, characterized by repeated episodes of upper airway closure during sleep, making it hard to breathe when lying down on back. And besides trouble breathing when lying down, sleep apnea includes other symptoms.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
It's possible that you'll have trouble breathing normally if you're overweight. Your chest and abdomen may be constrained and unable to stretch when lying down entirely. In addition to specific diseases and drug concerns, obesity can also be brought on by lifestyle choices.
Obesity is frequently associated with numerous medical disorders, including diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, and several types of cancer. Symptoms can be alleviated by losing weight with a good diet and exercise program, but you should always talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan.
Adult obesity symptoms typically include:
A person with a panic disorder has anxiety or panic episodes, a sense of being out of control, intense fear, and alienation. A person experiencing a panic attack may have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing for several minutes. A person may also experience shivering, sweating, coughing, lightheadedness, and tingling in addition to the psychological symptoms. You should seek counseling, CBT, or psychotherapy if you have a panic disorder.
Symptoms of a panic disorder include:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is commonly caused by poor air quality. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two examples of COPD. It is challenging to breathe properly with COPD because the air sacs in the lungs are destroyed, and the breathing tubes are constricted.
If left untreated, COPD deteriorates over time. Although inhalers, surgery, and rehabilitation can help with symptoms, treatment cannot undo lung damage.
Below are the signs and symptoms of COPD:
Being out of breath while pregnant is natural and usually goes away after delivery. The diaphragm and lungs are particularly vulnerable to pressure from the expanding uterus during pregnancy, which reduces lung capacity. Additionally, the progesterone hormone that the body produces causes the brain to breathe more quickly. The body has to pump more blood as the pregnancy progresses to support the developing fetus.
Pregnant women may experience the following symptoms:
Breathlessness is a common symptom of respiratory diseases, including the common cold, mild flu, or sinus infections. However, breathing problems should disappear along with the illness since they only last 3 to 14 days.
Upper infections and lower infections are the two categories of respiratory infections. While a lower respiratory infection begins at the vocal cords and progresses to the lungs, the upper respiratory infection begins at the sinuses and stops at the vocal cords.
You might experience the following symptoms with respiratory infections:
Your body needs iron to produce enough of a component in red blood cells, making it possible for them to carry oxygen (hemoglobin). Thus, iron deficiency anemia may make you feel lethargic and breathless.
Iron supplements are typically effective in treating iron deficiency anemia. However, if your doctor thinks you're internally bleeding, additional testing or therapies for iron deficiency anemia may occasionally be required.
Iron deficiency anemia symptoms include:
If you experience shortness of breath during sleep, you should lie down comfortably. "But in what position," you ask?.
Try out these two positions to feel better:
Here are some other tips to avoid shortness of breath:
Even if breathing problems aren't always the result of major medical conditions, you should consult your doctor as soon as you find it harder to breathe when lying down.
Your physician will do a physical examination to help them identify the underlying reason for your breathing problems. You'll be questioned about your symptoms and medical background.
Inform your physician of all prescription and OTC medications you are taking. Some medications used to relieve pain, muscle stiffness, or anxiety might make breathing difficult.
During the physical examination, your doctor will pay particular attention to your heart and lungs. There may be a need for additional tests, such as:
Also, you must see a doctor immediately if your shortness of breath includes any of the following:
Orthopnea or shortness of breath while lying down is extremely uncomfortable, can disrupt sleep, and can be dangerous in some circumstances. If you wonder, "why can't I breathe when I lay down" call or visit your doctor even if the symptoms are not life-threatening. It's critical to have the right diagnosis and treatment options because the severity and underlying causes vary from case to case.