Unique Symptoms of Asthma Vs. Heart Failure

By Michelle L. Cramer

Some symptoms of heart failure are similar to asthma related symptoms. Due to the severity of heart failure, it is important to know how to distinguish between bronchial asthma and cardiac asthma. This will help your doctor determine the right diagnosis and treatment.

Cardiac Definition

Cardiac asthma is a clinical condition with asthma-like symptoms caused by heart failure. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath caused by the buildup of fluid in the lungs.

Cardiac Triggers

Cardiac asthma symptoms typically occur after lying down and resting because the lungs are full of fluid, and lying down makes it more difficult for air to pass through them.

Bronchial Definition

Bronchial asthma is a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the airways, which can lead to breathing difficulties.

Bronchial Triggers

Bronchial asthma symptoms typically occur after vigorous activity, respiratory infection, cold weather, stress, pollutants and/or allergens.


It's important to obtain the right diagnosis when dealing with the similar symptoms in these two conditions. Treating asthma caused by heart failure as if it were simply bronchial asthma can be fatal.

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