Approximately 15 million Americans suffer from asthma. Of these, 5 million asthma sufferers are children. Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things to which you are allergic or find irritating. When the airways react, they get narrower and less air flows through to your lung tissues. This causes asthma symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing. Asthma cannot be cured, but for most patients it can be controlled through asthma medications so that you have only minimal and infrequent symptoms and you can live an active life.