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Cystic Fibrosis - Disease Information

To learn more about Cystic Fibrosis, please click on one of the following questions:

What is cystic fibrosis?
How many Canadians have cystic fibrosis?
What are the signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis?
What causes cystic fibrosis?
How is Cystic Fibrosis diagnosed?
When is Cystic Fibrosis diagnosed?
How is Cystic Fibrosis treated?
How does Cystic Fibrosis affect daily life?
Is there a cure for cystic fibrosis?

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ABOUT CF >> FACTS ABOUT CF
 
 

Cystic fibrosis:

  • Is the most common, fatal genetic disease affecting young Canadians
  • Is a multi-organ disease that affects mainly the lungs and the digestive system
  • Causes the body to produce abnormally thick, sticky mucus that: blocks airways, can lead to fatal lung infections, blocks ducts of the pancreas, prevents enzymes from reaching the intestines to digest food.
  • Is not contagious
  • Is caused by a mutation, or defect, in the Cftr gene
  • Currently there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, but research inspires real hope

Individuals with cystic fibrosis:

  • May have a range of symptoms, including: difficulty breathing, very salty-tasting skin, persistent coughing, wheezing or pneumonia, poor weight gain (despite a normal or large appetite).
  • Are affected by CF with varying degrees of severity
  • Undergo rigorous physiotherapy programs every day to relieve congestion in their lungs.
  • Consume artificial enzymes every time they eat to help them absorb adequate nutrients from their food.
  • Are living longer than ever before.
  • May experience various diseases related to cystic fibrosis as they age, such as: diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, chronic pancreatitis, liver disease, nasal polyps, allergic aspergillosis.

Cystic fibrosis statistics:

  • Approximately one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has CF.
  • Approximately 60% of patients in Canada are diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in the first year of life, and 90% by 10 years of age.
  • Approximately 3,500 children, adolescents and adults in Canada attend specialized cystic fibrosis clinics.
  • One in every 25 Canadians carries a defective version of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis
  • More than 50% of Canadians who have cystic fibrosis carry two copies of the most common cystic fibrosis mutation, ?F508.
  • More than 85% of all individuals with cystic fibrosis in Canada carry at least one copy of ?F508.
  • In the 1960s, most children with cystic fibrosis did not live long enough to attend kindergarten.
  • Today, half of all Canadians with cystic fibrosis may be expected to live into their late 30s, and even beyond.
  • In 2007, for the first time in Canada, the number of adults with cystic fibrosis - i.e. persons aged 18 and older - surpassed the number of children.

Cystic fibrosis research:

  • In 1989, a Canadian-led team of researchers identified the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis.
  • More than 1,500 mutations, or changes, in the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis have been found.
  • CCFF-funded researchers are tackling all aspects of the cystic fibrosis problem, from correcting the basic defect, to developing treatments for lung infection and inflammation.
  • Because individuals with cystic fibrosis experience a wide range of symptoms, CF research may also shed light on other diseases including asthma, HIV/AIDS, and epilepsy.
  • The current pace of cystic fibrosis research suggests it is reasonable to be optimistic about finding a cure or an effective control for cystic fibrosis.