Cystic Fibrosis: A Lifelong Disease

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. It is caused by a defective gene that makes the body produce abnormally thick and sticky mucus. This mucus builds up in the breathing passages of the lungs and in the pancreas.

The symptoms of CF can vary from person to person and can change over time. Common symptoms include:

  • Frequent respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Coughing up mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Salty sweat
  • Poor growth and development
  • Pancreatic insufficiency, which can lead to problems digesting food and absorbing nutrients

There is no cure for CF, but there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. These treatments include:

  • Chest physiotherapy to help clear mucus from the lungs
  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Digestive enzymes to help with food digestion
  • Lung transplantation

With early diagnosis and treatment, people with CF can live long and productive lives.

Here are some additional information about CF:

  • CF is caused by a mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. This gene controls the production of a protein that helps to regulate the movement of salt and water in and out of cells. When the CFTR gene is mutated, the protein does not work properly, which leads to thick and sticky mucus.
  • CF is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. This means that both parents must have a copy of the mutated gene in order for their child to have CF.
  • CF is the most common life-threatening genetic disorder in the United States. It affects about 30,000 people in the US.
  • The life expectancy for people with CF has been increasing in recent years. Today, the average life expectancy for people with CF is about 40 years.

If you have any questions or concerns about CF, please talk to your doctor.

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