Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. In the United States, asthma affects 14 million to 15 million persons. It is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting an estimated 4.8 million children. People with asthma collectively have more than 100 million days of restricted activity and 470,000 hospitalizations annually. More than 5,000 people die of asthma annually. Asthma hospitalization rates have been highest among blacks and children, while death rates for asthma were consistently highest among blacks aged 15 to 24 years. These rates have increased or remained stable over the past decade. This report describes the appropriate use of the available therapies in the management of asthma.