Home Lung and airways Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea: causes, symptoms and treatment

Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

It is known as dyspnea to the difficulty in breathing correctly or to the lack of air that a person presents, and that can cause the breathing to be forced, wheezy, very fast, or very slow. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea produces sudden nocturnal episodes of respiratory distress. The person wakes up suddenly due to shortness of breath and is forced to raise their head, stand or sit to breathe comfortably and deeply. This condition usually occurs when the individual has several hours of sleep and is associated with pulmonary and cardiac complications. To learn more about this condition, we invite you to read this article by FastlyHealon paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea: causes, symptoms, and treatment carefully.

Causes of paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea

Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea is not a disease; it is a symptom that is mainly associated with pulmonary and cardiac complications, such as pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure:

Congestive heart failure

Heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump blood with enough oxygen throughout the body, which can affect the entire body. This condition can occur suddenly, and although it can affect the right or left side of the heart, both sides are compromised in most cases. As the heart pumps more poorly, blood begins to accumulate in other body parts such as the lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, arms, and legs; this complication is known as congestive heart failure. Its main symptom is paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea.

Heart failure can occur from coronary artery disease that causes narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the heart. It can also occur due to poorly controlled high blood pressure. Other conditions that can cause heart failure include:

  • Heart attack.
  • Congenital heart disease.
  • Narrow heart valves.
  • Some arrhythmias.
  • Infection that weakens the heart.

Symptoms of heart failure are usually progressive. At first, the person may only have discomfort when active; over time, the disease can affect the respiratory system and cause dyspnea. The most common symptoms are:

  • To.
  • Difficulty breathing when you are busy or when you are resting.
  • Altered heart rhythm
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swollen liver or abdomen.
  • Inflammation of extremities.
  • Palpitations
  • Weight gain.

Pulmonary edema

Pulmonary edema occurs when a build-up of fluid in the lungs makes breathing very difficult. This condition is usually a consequence of congestive heart failure; when the heart does not pump blood efficiently, fluid builds up in the veins that carry blood to the lungs. When blood pressure rises, blood is pushed into the alveoli and reduces the mobility of oxygen through the lungs. In addition to congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema can also be caused by:

  • Renal failure .
  • Consumption of some medications.
  • Altitude.
  • Narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the kidneys.
  • Lung damage due to infection or toxic gas.

The symptoms of pulmonary edema are:

  • Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea.
  • Coughing up blood or foam.
  • Snoring or wheezing when breathing
  • Trouble pronouncing complete sentences due to shortness of breath.
  • Decreased lucidity.
  • Anxiety.
  • Swelling of the abdomen and swollen legs.
  • Pale skin.
  • Excessive sweating

Symptoms of paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea

Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea is a symptom associated with the conditions mentioned above. Therefore the accompanying symptoms will depend on the cause that is causing the respiratory distress. This type of dyspnea is characterized by causing shortness of breath or the inability to breathe deeply when the person is asleep, causing sleep to be suddenly interrupted. In general, the individual suffering from paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea wakes up drowning during the night and immediately seeks to sit or get out of bed to breathe normally.

Treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea

The treatment of this symptom aims to treat the disease that causes it. Therefore, below you will know how the conditions associated with this type of dyspnea are treated.

Treatment of congestive heart failure

People with heart failure will need to take a series of medications to help the heart normalize blood pumping throughout the body. These drugs help improve symptoms of the disease and prevent the condition from getting worse, that is, from turning into congestive heart failure. Medications for heart failure work as follows:

  • They help the heart pump blood efficiently.
  • They prevent the formation of clots.
  • They lower blood cholesterol.
  • They expand blood vessels and slow the heart rate to prevent the seat from working hard.
  • They avoid abnormal heart rhythms.
  • They avoid the retention of liquid and salt.

In some cases, it is essential to repair damage to the heart muscle through surgery to improve heart failure. The most common surgical treatments to treat this condition are:

  • Angioplasty and coronary artery bypass grafting improve blood flow to the myocardium when it is damaged or severely weakened.
  • Heart valve surgery when damage to one of these is the cause of heart failure.
  • Pacemaker placement to treat slow heart rate or for both sides of the heart to contract simultaneously.
  • Use a defibrillator to send an electrical impulse to normalize abnormal and fatal heart rhythms.

Treatment of pulmonary edema

Pulmonary edema is a condition that needs to be treated in a medical care center; even in some cases, the person must remain in the intensive care unit. Treatment consists of offering oxygen through a mask or cannulas. A tube can also be placed in the windpipe to provide assisted breathing through a ventilator.

Diuretic drugs may also be given to removing excess fluid and drugs to improve heart rate and relieve pressure on the heart. Treating the primary cause of pulmonary edema is essential to avoid future complications.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Lung and respiratory tract category .

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