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Cystic Fibrosis

Overview :

Cystic fibrosis affects the body's ability to move salt and water in and out of cells. This defect causes the lungs and pancreas to secrete thick mucus, blocking passageways and preventing proper function.

CF affects approximately 30,000 children and young adults in the United States, and about 3,000 babies are born with CF every year. CF primarily affects people of white northern-European descent; rates are much lower in non-white populations.

Many of the symptoms of CF can be treated with drugs or nutritional supplements. Close attention to and prompt treatment of respiratory and digestive complications have dramatically increased the expected life span of a person with CF. While several decades ago most children with CF died by age two, today about half of all people with CF live past age 31. That median age is expected to grow as new treatments are developed, and it is estimated that a person born in 1998 with CF has a median expected life span of 40 years.

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