Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that intermittently inflames and narrows the airways. People with asthma may experience wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing when the airways narrow.

Why Is the Study of Asthma a Priority for NIAID?

Asthma costs the United States approximately $56 billion each year in medical costs, lost school and work days, and early deaths. Approximately 24million people in the United States have asthma, including over 6 million children. In the United States, over 10 million people with asthma reported experiencing at least one asthma attack in 2014.

How Is NIAID Addressing This Critical Topic?

Since 1971, NIAID has supported targeted research to understand the causes of and develop preventions and treatments for asthma. NIAID research focuses on understanding how the environment, allergens, and genetics interact with the body's immune system to cause the disease and aggravate the symptoms. NIAID-supported investigators are working to prevent asthma from occurring in people and to develop new, better treatments for those who are currently affected.

To learn about risk factors for asthma and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the Medline Plus asthma site.

Photo of an asthma inhaler.

An asthma inhaler.

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NIAID
Asthma Research Goals

NIAID-supported investigators are working to prevent asthma from occurring in people and to develop new, better treatments for those who are currently affected. The pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of asthma are also major areas of emphasis for NIAID-targeted research programs.

Programs on Asthma in the Inner City

Recognizing that asthma severity in inner-city children is disproportionately high, NIAID has sponsored research to reduce the public health burden that asthma presents in inner-city populations. Beginning in 1991, NIAID has supported three consecutive inner-city asthma research programs, which have been successful in reducing asthma severity in children.

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