From the second your baby enters this world you have an intense commitment to keeping your kids happy, healthy and safe. But what happens when they aren’t healthy? What happens when you and your child are faced with an all-too-common illness? If you or someone in your family suffers from asthma, you are not alone. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports: “In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About 7 million of these people are children.”

That bad news is that asthma is a serious illness, and currently there isn’t a cure. But the good news is that there are a number of treatments both medical and preventative to make it manageable. Even famous athletes have battled and overcome asthma. As Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee puts it: “Once I stopped living in denial, I got my asthma under control, and I realized that it is a disease that can be controlled.” PS: She went on to win several Olympic medals, three of them gold.

So what do you do next if you’ve been diagnosed with asthma? The first step is in asthma treatment is to get educated and to consult with a doctor to find out what is best for you or your child. Information, advice and treatments are out there, you just need to know where to look. Here are 12 facts about asthma to get you started.

1. Asthma is a serious health problem.
Let’s not beat around the bush: asthma is a serious condition that needs serious treatment. What exactly is asthma? According to NIH: “Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.”

Read Related: Asthma’s Impact on Children and Adults

2. Asthma affects large numbers of people.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that an estimated 25.9 million people have asthma, and more than 14 million people reported having asthma attacks in 2013.