Asthma is a serious chronic disease of the airways that affects approximately 14% of the population in the United States. The fundamental pathophysiologic component of asthma is airway narrowing, which causes airflow obstruction. Both inflammation and bronchoconstriction contribute to airway narrowing. The pathogenesis of airway inflammation in asthma and the natural history of the disease are the subject of intense research and study in many countries of the world. The mechanisms of airway inflammation are only partially understood but are the basis for the devastating symptoms that affect the quality of life of millions of people. Treatment of asthma is directed at decreasing airway inflammation to gain long-term control of the disease.

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