Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea occurs when a patient has an attack of extreme coughing and shortness of breath while sleeping. It wakes the person up and is a very scary ordeal.
It happens most frequently after they have been asleep for just a few hours. It is relieved by sitting up but can last up to thirty minutes. Patients may also be advised to take deep, even breaths although that can be difficult due to the frightening nature of waking up in such a manner. It can be related to having excess fluid in the lungs and they need an examination by a doctor.