Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:
- clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections
- obstructs the pancreas
- stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food
In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.
The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis foundation, a nonprofit donor-supported organization, is to assure the development of the means to cure and control cystic fibrosis and to improve the quality of life for those with the disease. The Foundation is the leading organization in the United States devoted to cystic fibrosis. It funds and accredits more than 115 CF care centers, 95 adult care programs and 50 affiliate programs, and has 80 chapters and branch offices nationwide. For more information, visit www.cff.org.