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.
Breakthrough treatments have added years to the lives of people with cystic fibrosis. Today the median predicted survival age is close to 40. This is a dramatic improvement from the 1950s, when a child with CF rarely lived long enough to attend elementary school.
Because of tremendous advancements in research and care, many people with CF are living long enough to realize their dreams of attending college, pursuing careers, getting married and having kids.
While there has been significant progress in treating this disease, there is still no cure and too many lives are cut far too short.
CF affects about 30,000 people in the U.S. and about 70,000 world wide.
For more information please visit cff.org.
**source: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation