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Old 08-23-2019, 02:40 AM   #1
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Question Hard to Breathe

I'm hoping someone can offer some advice to my problem.


I've lived my whole life close to sea level where the atmospheric air pressure is about 15 psi. When I travel in my motorhome I'm inclined to visit mountainous areas and parks. Unfortunately, I've found that once I'm above 6500 to 7000 foot altitudes, I can't fall asleep because, as soon as I drop off, I snap awake gasping for air, presumably because of the lower atmospheric air pressure.


Is there a trick to getting over this hurdle? I've wondered about trying one of those portable oxygen concentrators while I'm sleeping, but I'm not sure that's a workable solution.
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:05 AM   #2
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Ask your Dr. Maybe you need a sleep study.
Or maybe just oxygen as needed but I would ask a professional. Perhaps youíre 30 y/o but most of us are older with chronic things going on. Donít want to wake up dead wearing oxygen you didnít need.
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:17 AM   #3
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Sounds like sleep apnea and it is worse at elevation
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:34 AM   #4
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Definitely get a sleep study. At my worst I had the same experience, itís scary waking up gasping for air.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:14 AM   #5
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You should definitely talk to your doc. However, here is a good discussion of altitude sickness.

https://www.skisilverthorne.com/adap...on-changes.php

I think the basic issue is a lack of red blood cells. They carry oxygen molecules around your body and at altitude it takes more of them to carry enough molecules since there are fewer molecules available with each breath. If you stay at altitude long enough, your body will produce more red blood cells and solve the problem on its own but I think it takes many months for that to occur.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:17 AM   #6
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Do as the others here mentioned.
I have this problem when my allergies are terrible so I elevate my body on the head end and it helps.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HJCihak View Post
I'm hoping someone can offer some advice to my problem.


I've lived my whole life close to sea level where the atmospheric air pressure is about 15 psi. When I travel in my motorhome I'm inclined to visit mountainous areas and parks. Unfortunately, I've found that once I'm above 6500 to 7000 foot altitudes, I can't fall asleep because, as soon as I drop off, I snap awake gasping for air, presumably because of the lower atmospheric air pressure.


Is there a trick to getting over this hurdle? I've wondered about trying one of those portable oxygen concentrators while I'm sleeping, but I'm not sure that's a workable solution.
Sounds like sleep apnea?
I use a breathing machine for the same.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:01 AM   #8
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takes me almost a month to acclimate coming from sea level to 8000’ now that I have some miles on my body....
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:13 AM   #9
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I had an issue similar to yours. Doctor referred me to sleep clinic. Found out it was all about a hi pressure sales wanting me to buy expensive equipment.
I resolved the issue by using a 12 hr nasal spray when I felt stuffy or dry.
Just saying be careful with clinics specializing in sleep therapy they are about money.
However not all are to be judged equally.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Lambert View Post
I had an issue similar to yours. Doctor referred me to sleep clinic. Found out it was all about a hi pressure sales wanting me to buy expensive equipment.
I resolved the issue by using a 12 hr nasal spray when I felt stuffy or dry.
Just saying be careful with clinics specializing in sleep therapy they are about money.
However not all are to be judged equally.



I was wondering what specific type and brand of spray that you you use?
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:47 AM   #11
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Some of it may depend upon how quickly you travel from sea level to the higher elevation. We find that when we travel from low to high we take several days to transition to the higher altitude.

If going up in stages does not help see your doctor.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:23 AM   #12
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First, I’ll qualify myself. I’m a retired respiratory health care provider (RCP, RRT) with over 35 years experience in acute care and 5 years experience on the diagnostic side. I’m also a CPAP user, having had complications following thyroid cancer surgery.

Some of the responses herein are perfectly acceptable. Indeed, there is less oxygen available to your haemoglobin at altitude. If you are possibly anemic, have your doctor order a simple blood test called a CBC and the results will display your Red Blood Cell or RBC count. Check that first.

Secondly, have a reputable company perform a Level III sleep study. You do this at home , comfortable in your own bed. There is no need to go into a lab for a study at this point. You will sleep overnight wearing an oximeter that measures the % oxygen saturation of your haemoglobin, your heart rate, and the air flow near your nostrils (via a device similar to an oxygen nasal cannula).

The Level III sleep study may show OSA or obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is related to structural changes in the airways, and can be treated with CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. It may also show some degree of Central Sleep disturbances, disturbances within the brain. These may require a higher degree of sleep diagnostics.

Congestive heart failure or CHF is also a possibility for SOB, as is high altitude pulmonary edema, but unless you have a cardiac diagnosis or you’re RVing on Everest these are unlikely causes of your symptoms.

Be forewarned that, like plumbers or pharmacists, not every doctor finishes at the top of his/her class. Take your lab and sleep study results and get a second opinion if you don’t like or trust the first one.

Lastly, since you appear not to have complained about this problem at sea level, one can consider that the problem is unique to altitude. However, everyone should be aware that SOB (shortness of breath) is also a symptom of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO binds to the haemoglobin molecule with an affinity over 230 times greater than oxygen. Check your in house CO monitors regularly.

As for nasal sprays, a reach in the dark at best. May work, but they do have rebound effects. If you want to try something nasal related, you’d be better off trying nasal strips first. Having said that, beware of advertisements posted everywhere on the internet that propose alternatives to CPAP “with this simple solution “

Not really advice, but a perspective from a professional.

Good luck. Hope you get this resolved.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:37 AM   #13
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Excesses...thanks for the information, very informative.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:06 PM   #14
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If you are or were a smoker or worked in a dust ladened environment, you may have respiratory issues that aren't apparent at sea-level or low altitudes, but they become apparent at elevation.
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