Cystic Fibrosis Explained

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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a very deadly inherited disease – the most fatal genetic condition among children in Canada. A cure for CF does not yet exist.

The disease is caused by defects in a very important gene. These defects cause the body to produce mucus that’s much too thick – which clogs up the lungs and airways. Breathing is thus very difficult for people with CF – who are also at an increased risk of infection from bacteria.

But CF doesn’t just affect the lungs. It also harms the digestive system: individuals with CF often have a hard time absorbing vital nutrients – like fats, protein, and many vitamins.

Lung problems account for most deaths related to cystic fibrosis. And while lung transplants can improve the quality of life of those with CF, this is no cure: eventually, the new lungs can become severely damaged by thick mucus, lack of oxygen, and infection.

Current medical intervention for cystic fibrosis relies on symptom management through a regimen of medication, physical therapy, and surgery.