Living with Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease of young Canadians. It's estimated that one in 2,500 children in Canada has CF.

One in every 25 children carries a defective version of the gene that could cause CF - well over one million Canadians.

CF affects mainly the lungs and the digestive system. It is in the lungs that the effects of the disease are the most devastating: chronic infection causes progressive lung damage, and a progressive decline in lung function.

Children and adults with cystic fibrosis must undergo physical therapy every day of their lives to help fight congestion and infection in the lungs. Eventually, most CF deaths are due to lung disease.

In the digestive tract, CF often results in extreme difficulty in digesting food, and in absorbing adequate nutrients.Thick mucus blocks the ducts of the pancreas, preventing enzymes from reaching the intestines to aid digestion. As a result, persons with CF must consume enzyme pills with every meal and snack - up to 20 pills a day. And they fight a constant, daily battle against under-nourishment.