Asthma is one of the most serious chronic medical conditions in the United States. In 2002, it was estimated that 20 million Americans have asthma. Of these, nearly 12 million Americans had an asthma attack or episode in the past year. Additionally, it is estimated that more than 30 million Americans, or about 10 percent of the U.S. population, have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives.
Asthma is a reversible obstructive lung disease, caused by increased reaction of the airways to various stimuli, such as cigarette smoke, airborne molds, pollens, dust, animal dander, exercise, cold air, many household and industrial products, air pollutants, scents or simple stress. It is a chronic inflammatory condition that usually leads to breathing problems known as "episodes" a series of events that result in narrowed airways which is responsible for the difficulty in breathing with the familiar wheeze. Although each person reacts differently to the factors that may trigger asthma, it can be a life-threatening disease if it is not properly managed. According to the American Lung Association, more than 4,200 Americans died from asthma in 2001.2
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of over $21.4 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, oncology and neuroscience products. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $9.6 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustain
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