Cardiac asthma isn’t true asthma, although it causes similar symptoms. True asthma is triggered by allergies, pollutants, exercise, stress or lung disease. The small air tubes in the lungs react to these triggers by tightening and narrowing. The result is wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Cardiac asthma can produce these symptoms, too, but they’re caused by heart failure, which leads to buildup of fluid in the lungs, called pulmonary edema.
The difference matters because the treatments for true asthma and cardiac asthma differ greatly. True asthma is treated with oral or inhaled medications that open the airways. Cardiac asthma caused by congestive heart failure is treated with heart medications, rest, proper diet and modified daily activities.
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