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Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the airways caused by allergens and other triggers. Asthma signs and symptoms evolve from three basic characteristics that underlie the disease and its exacerbations: airway obstruction, airway hyper responsiveness and airway inflammation. Airway obstruction and hyperresponsiveness represent the classic physiology of asthma, and their contribution to the disease process and symptomatology have been well recognized for some time. Appreciation of the role of airway inflammation in asthma has evolved more recently.