So, a couple of things.
- I gave up smoking last year after being a smoker for about 10 years, and started vaping instead, which I figured couldn't be worse than smoking and is probably less damaging.
- I moved to a new apartment last month. There seems to be a lot of dust about. It's along a main road.
- I think I might have seasonal allergies because I do have trouble around this time of year, but I've never been tested or taken any meds.
That's the background. Over the last few days, I've woken up wheezing and short of breath every single night. It is scary.
Any thoughts on what's causing this and what the most successful treatment options for dyspnea are in cases like mine?
I am not all that familiar with e-cigarettes, but I do recall once reading that they can cause something called "popcorn lung", or officially bronchiolitis obliterans. This leads to wheezing, a dry cough, dyspnea especially during physical activity, and rapid breathing. If you think you may have this, you should certainly see a doctor as soon as you can. You should anyway, of course, because there's no "best treatment" for shortness of breath without knowing what the cause is. If the cause is dust, the solution is doing everything you can to keep that away. If the cause is something else, the answer may be medication. And so on.
I'd also, frankly, look into giving up vaping. You already beat the "real" cigarettes! You can do it!
What you said reminded me of nocturnal asthma. Indeed, exposure to allergens is one cause.
It sounds really uncomfortable in any case, and I do think seeing a healthcare provider is warranted in this case. What if becomes more than uncomfortable, and crosses over into scary, I think I won't make it for much longer, territory? In that case, a blue asthma pump could really be of help, and you need a doctor to get that.
Of course, the vaping's got to go. You already know that. It still irritates your lungs, and contains more chemicals than actual cigarettes, I read somewhere.
I've continued to have the same problem every night, and only at night, since I posted the initial post here. I've used some anti-mucus medication, over the counter, to try to feel better and it has helped some, but it's also kept me up for long periods of time to the point where I wake up feeling tired and groggy.
I really hope this is a temporary thing.
Yeah, I am aware I should probably stop vaping. I'm not sure if I'm ready, though. I am pretty happy I was able to give up smoking and feel no need to return to actual cigarettes now, but I remain addicted to nicotine.
OK, so to follow up, I've been a LOT better. I'm now wondering if it was just a fluke respiratory infection or something in the environment that's now gone. It was still quite a scary experience and I'm still wondering whether I should see a doctor. My thinking is... if my shortness of breath was due to vaping or an allergen, then it can happen again.
Not being able to breathe really was a scary experience. It's funny how we take these things for granted, until they won't work the way they're supposed to anymore.
Still hoping for some advice.
Most doctors would tell you that you need to go in for an evaluation if you're awoken by episodes of dyspnea. While these episodes can absolutely be caused by nasal blockages or a respiratory infection, they should always be taken seriously because they can also be a sign of an underlying and more serious condition, such as emphysema.
How old are you, if I may ask?
It does seem you got through these episodes of dyspnea and out the other end, with fewer or no symptoms. That's the good news. Still do get checked out, though. I frankly don't understand why you haven't already.
I also wanted to weigh in and say... even though using e-cigarettes is probably not healthy (though a recent study said they're better than conventional ones for sure), that doesn't mean that your shortness of breath is necessarily caused by your use of these. If you've been vaping for a year and you're only having dysnea now, it seems more likely to me that it's related to something you have changed more recently, like the new apartment you mentioned.
If you can easily see your family doctor about this, that's something I think is worth taking the time to do.
This is my feeling as well, Lioness. I've been feeling so much better, generally, since quitting smoking. More energy while doing sports, better sense of taste and smell, etc. I do feel that vaping is much safer than smoking. I know it's not ideal, of course, but I'm a nicotine addict. This probably contributes to the problem I have been having, but is it the cause? I don't think so.
I think I'll take all your advice and make an appointment with a doctor, just so I can stop wondering what caused this, and perhaps for medications. Now, if the doctor tells me to stop vaping, that is something I can work on.
I'm asthmatic myself and I know that dusty environments really set me off, to the point where I definitely have to use my pump and sometimes, when I can and when it's bad, I just leave. Dust and dust mites are really bad for everyone in general. I'd look into making sure your home is less dusty for sure, if you are still suffering from shortness of breath and even if you aren't.
In addition, yes, see your doctor and lay all your cards on the table, same as you did here. That's the only way to know more for sure.
Best of luck!