This video was created by a local, STRONG, young woman, to share her experience with CF. We at CF Team Natalie admire Olivia, her strength, and her optimism. We pray that Natalie will show similar traits to help her fight CF as she grows.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly the lungs and pancreas. When mucus clogs the lungs, it can make breathing very difficult. The thick mucus also causes bacteria (or germs) to get stuck in the airways, which causes inflammation (or swelling) and infections that lead to lung damage. Mucus also can block the digestive tract and pancreas. The mucus stops digestive enzymes from getting to the intestines. The body needs these enzymes to break down food, which provides important nutrients to help people grow and stay healthy. People with cystic fibrosis often need to replace these enzymes with medicine they take with their meals and snacks, which helps them digest food and get proper nutrition.
Approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States have cystic fibrosis. Currently, there is no cure. The median age of survival is in the mid-30s. The steady rise of the median predicted age of survival suggests how improvements in treatment and care are advancing the lives of those with CF. In 1955, children with CF were not expected to live long enough to attend grade school. Today, thanks to continued Foundation-supported research and specialized care, an increasing number of people with cystic fibrosis are living into adulthood and leading healthier lived that include careers, marriage, and families of their own.