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Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. It affects

more than 20 million Americans. Asthma is characterized by
inflammation and spasm of the airways. Your airways are tubes
that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the
inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That
makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to
things that you are allergic to or find irritating.

For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others,

it can be a major problem that interferes with daily
activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Asthma can't be cured, but its symptoms can be

controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it's
important that you work with your doctor to track your
signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed.

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. You may
have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at
certain times — such as when exercising — or have
symptoms all the time.