Asthma is a major concern for society, healthcare professionals, and individuals and families directly affected by asthma due to rising morbidity rates and costs associated with the disease. The pathological hallmark of asthma is airway inflammation that is considered to be a major cause of exacerbations and persistent structural alterations of the airways. Assessing airway inflammation is important for investigating the underlying mechanisms of the disease and possibly for following the progression and resolution of the disease. The presence and type of airway inflammation can be difficult to detect clinically, and may result in delays in initiating appropriate therapy. The purpose of this article is to review noninvasive methods for assessing biological markers of airway inflammation and their potential role in the future for diagnosing, monitoring, and treating asthma. The article reviews the noninvasive measurements of induced sputum and exhaled nitric oxide as indicators of airway inflammation.

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