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Question
Posted by: Henrietta | 2008/01/28

Breathing Problem - Psychological

Hi Cybershrink

Last week I had a thing called transient cerebral ischea which I am not quite sure what it is (I have asked Cyberdoc). I am asthmatic and they say it was caused by prednisone tablets not being tapered off. What I remembered this morning however is that I seem to wake up suddenly as if I haven't been breathing (apnea I think its called as my doctor and I discussed it once). However, I had a very bad traumatic childhood and lots of subsequent stress. I have seen a psychologist off and on for about 5 years and it has helped to learn strategies to cope with my dysfunctional family. She pointed out that my breathing is not good, I stop breathing completely when we went through a traumatic discussion. I don't know if this is physical (they say it is the Prednisone) but I wonder if I could be dreaming and because its traumatic to me that I stopped breathing and then wake up. Happens at least once a night. Who and where would I go to "fix" my breathing so to spoke. I am a shallow breather at the best of times and I do try to breathe properly. The other thing (as I told her) is that sometimes things were so emotionally painful that it hurt to breathe - she understood this and said it is grief etc. I don't know what to do about this (and my doc is away). My blood tests were normal although my BP went high when I had the tc ischea and they admitted me to hospital for a day. I had another episode like this yesterday (I was awake) but it was not so bad but I noticed that my pupils dilated (last week) the paramedics also told me that. Yesterday I was fine and my BP had returned to normal.
What do you think doc?

Henrietta - nickname

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi Henrietta,
Sounds like Transient Cerebral Ischaemia, and I'm sure Cyberdoc will be able to tell you all about it. Apnoea is a medical term for "not breathing", whether this is brief or long in duration. Some people have a problem called Slep Apnoea when they may stop breathing for a brief time during sleep, before starting up again. I don't quite see how the prednisone could be blamed for these various events. Even thinking about upsetting things doesn't usually lead one to stop breathing --- if anything, most people would be more likely to pant or breathe deeply !
When one is upset, one may become excessively aware of one's breathing, such that it feels awkward and uncomfortable, even if in fact one is drawing in quite enough oxygen.
From the sound of it, it'd be wise for you to see a good local General Physician, a specialist in generalmedicine, for a thorough examination and assessment, and then, basd on whatever he finds, advice on managing thse overlapping problems

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