Cardiac Asthma

Cardiac asthma is a condition that has many similarities to normal asthma but with a certain key difference. The lung type is generally caused by the inflammation of the air passages having a different origin than the cardiac one. The cardiac type appears when breathing is blocked by the accumulation of fluids in the lungs.

As the pulmonary circulation is blocked, the breathing becomes irregular in the same way as regular asthma. The circulation in the lungs usually gets blocked by the pressure applied by the left part of the heart against it. The wheezing and shortness of breath produced by the inability to open the heart valves correctly is the main characteristic of this illness.

Cardiac asthma is generally associated with congestive heart failure; meaning that causes for heart failure can eventually lead to asthma as well. Hypertension, coronary artery disease and heart valve problems can all end in this type of condition.

There are several signs that can indicate if you are experiencing this cardiac problem.

The symptoms or signs generally occur after doing exercise and when you are sleeping. The main symptoms are chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid and shallow breathing, high blood pressure, accelerated heart beat, the swelling of ankles which becomes worse as time passes, waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to breathe properly.

The swelling of ankles is very characteristic of the condition and can give the sign that what you are suffering is not regular asthma. Keep in mind that regular and cardiac asthma are treated very differently so if you wake during the night with breathing problems you should not use an inhaler or anything that is normally used for asthma as it can actually worsen your condition. You should sit and wait for your breathing to normalize and visit your doctor as soon as possible. This condition can be fatal if left untreated, so it is important to take the necessary measures once you feel something is wrong.


The treatment for this condition is usually directed toward improving the heart pumping function rather than treating the air passages. In order to treat the condition removing the excess of fluids in the lungs is a must. There are several medications that doctors use to remove the fluid buildup which allows normal breathing.

Surgery can also be considered if the illness is severe enough. The use of surgery to correct the heart valves is sometimes necessary to treat the condition.


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