|Classification and external resources|
Cardiac asthma is a medical diagnosis of wheezing, coughing or shortness of breath due to congestive heart failure. It is known as cardiac asthma because the symptoms mimic ordinary asthma. One study found that a third of patients who have symptoms of cardiac asthma also have congestive heart failure.
Depending on severity, it may be classified as a medical emergency as it can be a symptom of acute heart failure leading to the build up of fluids in the lungs-pulmonary edema, and in and around the airways.
True asthma, in contrast, is caused by the inflammation and eventual narrowing down of airways. This is what causes the breathing difficulties that are characteristic to asthma. True asthma has nothing to do with fluid in the lungs or heart disease, or even the heart failure which is so associated with cardiac asthma.
The distinction between true asthma and cardiac asthma is especially important because some treatments for true asthma, including inhalers, may actually worsen cardiac asthma and cause severe heart arrhythmias.
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