Cystic Fibrosis is one of the most common inherited life threatening diseases among Caucasians and affects about 70,000 children and adults worldwide.
A defect in the CFTR gene causes cystic fibrosis (CF). This gene makes a protein that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of your body's cells. In people who have cystic fibrosis, the gene makes a protein that doesn't work right. This causes thick, sticky mucus and very salty sweat.
1 in 25 people are carriers of the defective gene.
For a child to have CF both parents must be carriers, however everytime a child is born to these parents, there is is a 1 in 4 chance the baby will have CF, 2 in 4 chance the baby will be a carrier and a 1 in 4 chance the baby will be free from both.
Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food.
CF sufferers can also suffer from diabetes, kidney damage, asthma, malnutrition, osteoporosis, liver disease, pancreatitis and gallstones.
CF requires an intense programme of treatment that takes up a lot of time during the day. It includes daily inhalation of antibiotics, physiotherapy, many tablets - including pancreatic enzymes, and multivitamins. Also there is the need for regular visits to hospital, sometimes resulting in being admitted for an intense treatment of intravenous drugs.
This treatment cannot cure CF. It only helps to delay or alleviate the symptoms.