Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and makes it hard to breathe. Symptoms include breathlessness, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. The causes of asthma are unknown but genetic and environmental factors can be involved. Five million Californians have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives. Asthma is the most common long-term disease in children. African Americans and people with low incomes visit hospitals for asthma more often than other groups.
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