What Is Cardiac Asthma?
Cardiac asthma is not the same as bronchial asthma, although it causes similar symptoms.
Bronchial asthma is triggered by allergies, pollutants, exercise, stress, or lung
disease. The small airways in the lungs become irritated and inflamed due to these
triggers. This inflammation results in wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
Cardiac asthma can produce similar symptoms, but cardiac asthma is caused by the backup
of fluid in the left side of the heart. This fluid backup can be the result of a heart
that pumps weakly or because of a leaky valve or a heart defect that’s present at
birth (congenital). This is a sign of congestive heart failure.
The difference matters because the treatments for bronchial asthma and cardiac asthma
are very different. Bronchial asthma is treated with oral or inhaled medicines that
open the airways. The treatments for cardiac asthma depend on the cause (such as heart
failure or leaky valve), but may include heart medicines to control blood pressure
and remove excess fluid, proper diet, and modified daily activities. If the cause
is a leaky valve or congenital heart defect, over time surgery may be needed.