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Difficulty breathing while laying on my back or my stomach?

By Anonymous October 7, 2014 - 5:00pm
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Everytime I lay on my back or stomach, I start breathing really hard kind of like I'm wheezing. I have sleep apnea, so could that be affecting me while I'm awake?

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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger


Hi Anon and welcome to EmpowHER.

There are three types of respiratory events which can occur when a person has sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive apnea—caused by a temporary, partial, or complete blockage of the airway
  • Central apnea—caused by a temporary failure to make an effort to breathe
  • Mixed apnea—combination of the first two types

It's possible that some of the health conditions that you are experiencing, which have played a role in developing sleep apnea, are also impacting your respiratory system during the day, resulting in the breathing difficulties you are experiencing.

The risk factors that lead to sleep apnea include the following:

It is also possible that you have developed a new condition, for example, asthma, which is inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, and often leads to wheezing and difficulty breathing. 

In any case, it would be best to see your healthcare provider, or see a pulmonologist (respiratory tract specialist) for an exam and, most likely, some diagnostic tests, to determine what is causing this difficulty and get you some relief.

Does that help? Will you let us know what you learn from your doctor? We wish you the best.

Take care,


October 7, 2014 - 6:17pm
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