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Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways that carry oxygen in and out of the lungs. If a person has asthma, the inside of these airways is irritated and swollen. Asthma can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. For some people, asthma symptoms only appear when they are exposed to something that irritates their breathing. Others have a kind of asthma that makes breathing difficult all of the time.

A person can get asthma at any age. Asthma affects all races, ages, and genders. Although asthma affects people of all ages, it often starts in childhood and is more common in children than in adults.

Asthma has no cure, but it can be controlled. The majority of problems associated with asthma, including staying in the hospital, can be prevented if asthma is managed properly.

For more information about asthma, visit CDC’s National Asthma Control Program.

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