Asthma is a chronic, or recurring, condition in which the airways become inflamed and swollen. Wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest, and difficulty breathing occur as a result. Currently, there is no cure, but asthma symptoms can often be controlled and attacks prevented by avoiding known triggers and taking medications as your healthcare provider recommends.
Other important facts about asthma include the following:
- In the United States, about 15 million people have asthma. Nearly 5 million of them are children.
- Asthma is one of the leading causes of children missing school.
- Although asthma affects people of all ages, it often starts in childhood and is more common in children than adults. Boys have it more often than girls; but in adulthood, more women have asthma than men.
(Click Asthma for a more detailed look at this condition, including what happens during an asthma attack and measures to control symptoms.)