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Cystic Fibrosis Fast Facts

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects 30,000 Americans. Let’s take a look at some of the key facts and figures about this serious condition:

  • Cystic fibrosis is a relatively common life-threatening genetic disease that impairs the secretory glands.
  • It affects many different parts of the body including the lungs, pancreas, sweat glands and reproductive tract.
  • CF causes too much salt to build up in cells, therefor creating a thick mucus that lines the lung walls making breathing difficult.
  • People with CF have salty skin.
  • The average life expectancy for people with CF is approximately 37 years of age
  • People with CF are highly prone to lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia and are more vulnerable to the effects than healthy people, so they often die of complications caused by infections.
  • Although exercise is difficult for people with CF, light exercise can help increase lung capacity.
  • Automatic screening for newborns is carried out in nearly all the hospitals in the United States.
  • The disease is present from birth and caused by a mutated gene carried by both parents.
  • If both parents carry the CF gene, there is a 25% chance their child will develop cystic fibrosis.
  • Approximately 10 million Americans are carriers of the CF gene.
  • There are over 900 mutation variants of the gene, so testing is difficult.
  • Life expectancy for people with CF varies on the severity of their condition and how well they respond to medication.
  • Some people thing cystic fibrosis is contagious, but it is not.
  • Symptoms of CF vary, but include: persistent and chronic coughing due to the constant buildup of mucus, exercise intolerance, poor appetite, slowed growth or weight loss, fatigue, wheezing and breathing difficulty, bowel problems such as constipation or diarrhea and weakness or dizziness.
  • There is no cure for CF but there are many treatment options available today that can extend the life of many CF sufferers such as nebulizer medications, inhaled medications, physiotherapy and oxygen supplementation.
  • Ultimately a lung transplant has the best chance of greatly extending the life of a person with severe CF, although lung transplants are risky as the body can reject the donor organs which would greatly increase the risk of death.

That concludes our look into cystic fibrosis. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about cystic fibrosis or any other medical issue, our excellent board certified doctors are standing by 24/7/365!