Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (PND) is an attack of severe shortness of breath and coughing that generally occurs at night. It usually occurs several hours after the person has fallen asleep and improves when he sits upright.
PND can be a distressing experience, and maybe quite frightening. This condition can also be easily defined because of its name:
PND is a general term for any condition that causes sudden shortness of breath which normally reoccurs after some relief, accompanied by coughing.
CAUSES OF PND
Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea may be caused by mechanisms similar to those for orthopnea. There is an inability in the left ventricle and suddenly the failing left ventricle is unable to match the output of a more normally functional right ventricle.
The condition develops pulmonary congestion which results in shortness of breath and gasping for air. About 90 percent of all dyspnea cases are due to a lung or heart condition.
Paroxysmal dyspnea, as well as orthopnea, are specific symptoms of heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart encounters difficulty in pumping blood throughout the body.
When the heart stops working normally, the body produces rennin, an enzyme that triggers fluid and sodium retention. This may lead to swelling if the heart is not able to handle the extra fluid.
The build-up in the lungs (pulmonary edema), then causes shortness of breath. Some heart conditions that may cause PND to include:
Some respiratory conditions that lead to PND include:
Other health abnormalities that may cause paroxysmal dyspnea to include:
SYMPTOMS OF PND
Common symptoms of PND include:
A person may also experience symptoms of the underlying condition that causes their PND.
The risk of developing heart or lung conditions is a risk of developing paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea.
Risk factor for heart failure may include:
Risk factors for lung disease include:
A diagnosis for paroxysmal dyspnea is better done by diagnosing the underlying cause or causes.
Diagnostic tests may include a combination of:
TREATMENT FOR PND
Treatment is dependent on the cause.
Lifestyle changes, such as:
Apply medications, may include:
Surgery or special implantation devices
Other treatments are focused on reducing stress and improving the overall quality of your sleep.
CAUTION: Remember to seek emergency medical attention if you experience severe or ongoing shortness of breath or chest pain.
Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea may be caused by mechanisms similar to those for orthopnea. The failing left ventricle is suddenly unable to match the output of a more normally functioning right ventricle, this results in pulmonary congestion.
A PND can occur due to respiratory and cardiac conditions, a healthcare professional will want to diagnose the underlying cause.
Diagnostic tests may include a combination of physical exams including blood pressure tests, weight measurements, and listening to a person’s heart and lungs.
Orthopnea is caused by increased pressure in the blood vessels of your lungs. When you lie down, blood flows from your legs back to your heart and then to your lungs. In healthy people, this redistribution of blood doesn’t cause any problems.
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing while laying down may be due to the mechanical effect of the enlarging uterus as the pregnancy progresses, causing the heart to sit higher in the chest.
Although there has been recent improvement in congestive heart failure treatment, researchers say the prognosis for people with the diseases is steel bleak, with about 50% having an average life expectancy of fewer than five years. For those with advanced forms of heart failure, nearly 90% die within one year.