Waking Up With Choking Sensation

What Causes Waking Up Choking?

Waking up choking can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'serious' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose waking up choking, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "waking up choking" as a symptom.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Sleep Apnea

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
congestive heart failure
mild abdominal discomfort
waking up with a headache
edema of the abdomen
severe fatigue after slight exertion
frequent sleepwalking
tossing and turning at night
edema of the ankles/lower legs
absent sexual desire
blue/bluish fingernails
shortness of breath when at rest
weak appetite
... and more than 10 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of waking up choking:
Cause Probability Status
Congestive Heart Failure 92% Confirm
Sleep Apnea 65% Possible
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate sleeping-related problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you ever wake up during the night gasping for air, or with a choking sensation?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Occasionally - less than once per month
→ Often - at least once per month
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate waking up with choking sensation, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Congestive Heart Failure

Fluid may accumulate in the lungs, causing shortness of breath particularly during exercise and when lying flat.  In some instances, patients are awakened at night, gasping for air.

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