Cystic Fibrosis

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Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease affecting approximately 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. CF causes the body to produce an abnormally thick, sticky mucus, due to the faulty transport of sodium and chloride (salt) within cells lining organs such as the pancreas and lungs to their outer surface. This also prevents enzymes from reaching the intestines to help break down and digest food.

The most common symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis are very salty-tasting skin; persistent coughing, wheezing or pneumonia; excessive appetite but poor weight gain; and bulky stools. Treatment depends upon the stage of the disease and which organs are involved. Chest physical therapy, antibiotics, and nutrition supplements are commonly used. Many people with CF require frequent hospitalizations. The life expectancy of people with CF used to be very short; 30 years ago the median life expectancy was about 8 years. Today, thanks to medical advances, the median life expectancy is just under 30 years and increasing.

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