Asthma is a chronic (or lifelong) disease that can be serious—even life-threatening. There is no cure for asthma. The good news is that with proper management, you or your loved one with asthma can live a normal, healthy life. The more you can learn about asthma, the better you and your loved ones can manage living with this disease, making the most of every day and maintaining a high quality of life.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it harder to move air in and out of your lungs. It can start at any age. Learn more about the basics of asthma.

How Asthma Affects Your Body

With asthma, swollen airways become extra sensitive to some things that you are exposed to in the environment every day, or asthma "triggers." When you breathe in a trigger, your airways create extra mucus and swell even more, making it hard to breathe. Find out how asthma affects you.

Do I Have Severe Asthma?

When your asthma is well-controlled, you experience very few symptoms throughout the day and night and you can perform daily activities without shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing or wheezing. Some people have asthma that is difficult to treat or does not respond well to inhaled corticosteroids. Depending on the type of asthma that you have, there are different management steps and treatment options that can help. Learn more about severe asthma.

How Serious Is Asthma?

More than 26 million Americans have asthma, including 6.1 million children. It causes millions of lost school and work days every year and is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children. There is no cure for asthma, but the good news is that it can be managed and treated, allowing you to live a normal, healthy life. See the impact of asthma.

Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel.

Page last updated: October 23, 2020

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