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What Is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes continual lung infections and makes breathing difficult. It is not contagious! People with Cystic Fibrosis have inherited two copies of the defective CF gene. They receive each defective CF gene from each of their parents. A CF gene causes a very think buildup of mucus in the lungs and pancreas. This mucus clogs the lungs and traps bacteria causing infections and deathly lung damage. Also, the mucus prevents digestive enzymes in the pancreas to break down food and absorb crucial nutrients.
What are the symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis? Are there ways to reduce the symptoms?
People with Cystic Fibrosis can have a variety of types and severity of symptoms that change from person to person depending on the age a CF person was diagnosed. Many people with CF experience numerous lung infections including bronchitis or pneumonia. They also struggle with wheezing, shortness of breath, and constant coughing because they’re struggling to breathe on a daily basis. It is very common for people with CF to struggle to gain weight and to grow because the buildup of mucus in the pancreas stops the absorption of food and vital nutrients needed for growth and weight gain.
A person with CF can reduce some of their symptoms by minimizing contact with germs. Germs multiply and create a greater risk of gaining more lung infections. Exercise is extremely important for CF people. Exercise keeps your lungs the strongest. People with CF have to work with doctors to create a treatment plan to help reduce their symptoms. Many CF people have therapy sessions and wear vests that vibrate to loosen and thin the mucus in their chest. They also have to visit a care center frequently to receive expert CF care from healthcare professionals.
Is there a cure for Cystic Fibrosis?
There is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Too many people with CF have died too soon. However, because of advancements in research and expert caretakers, many people with CF are able to live longer than in previous years. In the past, people with CF were lucky if they lived throughout their elementary school years. Today, the life expectancy for a person with CF is between 30 and 40 years. Thankfully, because of today’s treatment plans, people with CF have been able to live a more normal life than before. They are capable of doing every day activities such as having a job and going to school.
Is a cure possible? How can we help?
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has a goal to discover a cure. They research daily to create new treatments and specialize care for the CF community. They have made progress over the years, but more research must be done. We can help the CF community by spreading awareness for this little known disease. Our 5K is an example of how we can help spread awareness and raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Donating and to the CF foundation frequently is another way to help raise money to find a cure. Volunteering your time for CF events is another tremendous way you can support CF. Please attend our 5K race on November 4 in order to raise money for people with CF. This race also benefits a member in our Windsor community. Hannah Goetz is a high school student who attended Windsor Elementary School and is diagnosed with CF. Please help us give back to our community to help Hannah with her CF treatment plan and other CF citizens.