WHAT IS CYSTIC FIBROSIS?
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. An estimated 30,000 children and adults in the United States have CF. In people with CF, a defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:
• Clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections.
• Obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body breakdown 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.
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