Conditions and Diseases
Cystic Fibrosis

What is Cystic Fibrosis?



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Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder which affects the lungs and pancreas. It causes the lungs to get clogged with mucus, which in turn makes the lungs a breeding ground for bacteria. In the pancreas, it blocks the pancreas from absorbing enzymes, which makes its victims prone to malnutrition. Often times, they have to take treatments such as lung therapy every day, as well as enzyme supplements on a daily basis. The average life expectancy is 37.

  • Cystic Fibrosis is caused by a defective gene which causes a thick, sticky mucus. It builds up in the lungs and pancreas (the organ that helps to break-down food.) Cystic Fibrosis results in life-threatening lung infections and digestive problems. Symptoms are varied, but the most common are: No bowel movements in first 24 - 48 hours of life (baby!) Stools that are pale or clay colored, foul smelling or float. Infants can have salty tasting skin. Recurrent respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or sinusitis. Coughing/wheezing. Weight loss or can't gain weight normally in childhood. Diarrhea, delayed growth and fatigue.
  • Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease occurring in about 1 in 30,000 births. The gene must be inherited from both the mother and the father. Children inheriting only one copy of the gene are carriers but do not display symptoms. Average life expectancy for Cystic Fibrosis is approximately 32 years of age. There are many treatments but no cure. People with Cystic Fibrosis are at high risk of developing other conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis related Arthritis and Cystic Fibrosis related Diabetes, Liver failure and ultimately respiratory failure leading to death. Once a person with Cystic Fibrosis loses enough lung function the only other treatment is a lung transplant