Cystic Fibrosis (CF): More Than a Lung Disease

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a progressive, genetic disease that causes long-lasting lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. 

In people with CF, the CFTR gene has mutations that cause an important protein, CFTR protein, to not work correctly and makes the mucus in various organs to become thick and sticky. In the lungs, this thickened mucus clogs the airways and traps germs. These bacteria can lead to infections, inflammation, and respiratory failure, among other complications. CF also affects the pancreas. The mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes that help the body absorb vitamins and nutrients and can lead to malnutrition and poor growth. In the liver, mucus can block the bile duct and cause liver disease. 

During the 1950s, a child with CF was not expected to live long enough to attend elementary school. In 1962, the average life expectancy was 10 years old, and now it is predicted that children born in the 2000’s will survive into their 50’s. About 30,000 people in the United States have CF, with 1,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. 

May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and the theme for 2022 is β€œMore Than a Lung Disease.” Due to organizations like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, many advances have been made in treatments and resources for those living with CF. This year’s 2022 Suffolk County Great Strides Walk took place Sunday, May 15, at the Holtsville Ecology Center and to date has raised over $86,000. Fundraising portal for this event will remain open until mid-July, visit https://www.cff.org/chapters/greaternew-york-chapter to donate or find upcoming events.

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