Asthma is a multifactorial, chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. The knowledge that asthma is an inflammatory disorder has become a core fundamental in the definition of asthma. Asthma's chief features include a variable degree of air-flow obstruction and bronchial hyper-responsiveness,
in addition to the underlying chronic airways inflammation. This underlying chronic airway inflammation substantially contributes to airway hyper-responsiveness, air-flow limitation, respiratory symptoms, and disease chronicity. However, this underlying chronic airway inflammation has implications
for the diagnosis, management, and potential prevention of the disease. This review for the respiratory therapy community summarizes these developments as well as providing an update on asthma epidemiology, natural history, cause, and pathogenesis. This paper also provides an overview on appropriate
diagnostic and monitoring strategies for asthma, pharmacology, and newer therapies for the future as well as relevant management of acute and ambulatory asthma, and a brief review of educational approaches.