Based on the current situation, a further increase in the prevalence of asthma is anticipated, particularly in eastern European countries where acquisition of a Western lifestyle has already been shown to increase the prevalence of childhood asthma to as much as 20%. Furthermore, as there appears to be a cohort effect on the increased prevalence of asthma in childhood, an increase is likely among adults (especially young adults) in the near future. Greater use of anti-inflammatory drugs, and the possible development of more effective drugs, may reduce the acute morbidity of asthma and the need for acute hospital admissions. New drugs targeting pathways in the inflammatory processes may improve therapy, but this remains to be shown. However, there will be an increasing need for specialist diagnosis and monitoring of asthmatic patients especially at an early stage of the disease, with the aim of reducing its long-lasting effects.