According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma, approximately 7 million of these people are children.
Asthma has no cure. The disease can flare up at any time, however, with today's knowledge and treatments, most people who have asthma are able to manage the disease. That said, from 2001 to 2011, the number of people with asthma grew by 28 percent. In 2007, the cost of asthma was $56 billion. Direct costs, like medicines and hospital stays, and indirect costs, like missed work days and productivity, are significant, making asthma another important chronic condition demanding attention.