Our expert says:
True asthma is a lung condition due to temporary narrowing of the airways which causes sudden shortness of breath. However sudden shortness of breath may also be due to what some people call “cardiac asthma”, which can be due to a variety of heart conditions including leaking or blocked valves or a weak heart muscle. A third cause of sudden shortness of breath may be extreme anxiety.
It is usually quite easy to distinguish between these three very different causes of shortness of breath and I would suggest taking your sister to a good general physician or alternatively to a cardiologist. Your own doctor in Johannesburg should be able to give you good advice about where to take her. Alternatively, the doctor who has been treating your sister should also be able to advise her where to go and who to see.
I hope the problem is quickly and simply resolved.
Best wishes, JT.
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