Facts about Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. In people with CF, a defective gene causes a thick, buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage, and eventually, respiratory failure. In the pancreas, the mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes that allow the body to break down food and absorb vital nutrients. In the 1950s, few children with CF lived to attend elementary school. Since then, tremendous progress in understanding and treating CF has led to dramatic improvements in the length and quality of life for those with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.
Symptoms of CF
People with CF can have a variety of symptoms, including:
- Very salty tasting skin
- Persistent coughing, at times with phlegm
- Frequent lung infections
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Poor growth and slow weight gain, in spite of a good appetite
- Frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry, in the United States:
- More than 30,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis (more than 70,000 worldwide).
- Approximately 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year.
- More than 75 percent of people with CF are diagnosed by age 2.
- More than half of the CF population is age 18 or older.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
A nonprofit, donor-supported organization, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for CF. The Foundation funds lifesaving research and works to provide access to quality, specialized care and effective treatments for people with CF.
Nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support. Through its efforts, the life expectancy of a child with CF has doubled in the last 30 years, and research to find a cure is more promising than ever before.
Used with permission from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, www.cff.org
Websites about CF and Related CF Issues