Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea Overview

What is paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea?
Breathing difficulty or dyspnea is the feeling that the act of breathing requires more effort than usual. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea or PND is waking up in the middle of the night suddenly short of breath. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea is a common symptom of heart or lung disease. One of the most common causes of paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea is congestive heart failure.

What other symptoms are often associated with paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea?
There are a number of symptoms that are commonly associated with paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, such as increased shortness of breath when lying flat (orthopnea) and dyspnea on exertion. Other symptoms include rapid breathing rate, rapid pulse, wheezing, cough, chest pain, excessive sweating, and leg swelling.

How does the doctor treat paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea?
Treatment for paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea depends on the underlying cause. Options include oxygen, heart medications, diuretics, antihypertensives, and bronchodilators to reverse wheezing.

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