Cystic Fibrosis, or CF as it is commonly called, is a disease caused by an inherited genetic defect. About 1 in 20 people in the United States carry at least one defective gene, which makes it the most common genetic defect of its severity in the United States.
People with CF suffer from chronic lung problems and digestive disorders. The lungs of people with CF become covered with sticky mucus, which is hard to remove and promotes infection by bacteria. Many people with CF require frequent hospitalizations and continuous use of antibiotics, enzyme supplements, and other medications.
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 in the mid-30s and increasing.
CF used to be known as a children’s disease, but as medical advances increase the life expectancy of people with cystic fibrosis, there are a new set of problems— going to college, getting a job, finding health insurance, building permanent relationships— all while keeping up the physical therapy and medications.