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Do I have sleep paralysis?

I am 21 yrs old. Every now and then i experience what i think may be sleep paralysis? I begin breathing much more shallow as I'm about to fall asleep. Its like i am awake and aware when i am about to go into a deep sleep. Anyways, i then notice my respirations become more shallow and all of a sudden i feel a great crushing sensation on my chest(like someone sitting on me) and it gets stronger and stronger, making it harder for me to breath. I feel like i am barely able to breath during these attacks. I know when i am having these experiences but cannot move or wake myself up fully. I just wanted to know a little of what could be going on maybe or what i can do to stop these attacks.
Please speak with your doctor. The symptoms that you are describing could be a sign of some other things that are going on and need to be treated to help you return to optimal health. One of the first things that your doctor may do is talk to you about your weight. If you are overweight, this could be one sign of the potential problem. Another question that may come up is snoring, as there can be some problems that are related to snoring, and the soft tissue redundancy that this implies (in the upper airway). Next, your doctor will likely want to know about your overall health and if there is anything that could be contributing to the problems that you are describing. There is a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea that is more common in overweight males. In this condition, the muscles and soft tissue of the upper airway collapse as a person falls asleep, resulting in a decreased volume in the airway. This can result in a sensation of being suffocated, and can be alarming--especially for people who are watching the person struggle for breath. This is one possible explanation, but please speak with your doctor soon.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.