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Asthma is a chronic condition that affects 1 in 13 Americans.

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) condition that affects the airways in the lungs. The airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the airways can become inflamed and narrowed at times.

Asthma affects people of all ages and often starts during childhood. You may wheeze, cough, or feel tightness in your chest. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can happen every day or only once in a while. Certain things can set off or worsen asthma symptoms, such as cold air. These are called asthma triggers. When symptoms get worse, it is called an asthma attack.

An asthma action plan can help you manage your asthma. The plan may include monitoring, avoiding triggers, and using medicines.

Explore this Health Topic to learn more about asthma and living with the condition, our role in research and clinical trials.

Find asthma guides, tip sheets, and other resources from NHLBI’s Asthma Learn More Breathe Better program.