Understanding Cystic Fibrosis: Impact, Support, and How You Can Help

A brief overview of cystic fibrosis, how it can impact people who have it, and how you can help.

3 min read
In this article

What is CF?

  • Cystic fibrosis is a rare, progressive, genetic disease. It affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs.
  • CF often causes a buildup of thick, sticky mucus. This makes it difficult to breathe, and often leads to chronic lung infections. It can also make it difficult to digest food and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Managing CF can look different for each individual.
    • Some people need to clear their airways every morning using special vests that shake and loosen mucus.
    • Some take dozens of medications ranging from enzymes to help aid digestion to antibiotics to address lung infections.
    • Many take CFTR modulators, a transformative daily medication that can override the dysfunctional protein that causes CF. However, these are not a cure and not everyone with CF can benefit from them (depending on their specific mutation of the CF gene).

Who has CF?

  • CF can impact people of all races, ethnicities, and identities.
  • There are close to 40,000 people in the U.S. living with CF.
  • When it was first discovered in the late 1930s, it was considered a pediatric disease. Because of the progressive damage it causes to the lungs and organs, most people with CF did not reach adulthood.
  • Today, advancements in care and treatment have allowed people with CF to live longer, with nearly 60% of the CF population in 2022 being adults.
  • Personal stories from members of the CF community can be found on our community blog.

What is the CF Foundation doing to support the CF community?

  • Our mission is to find a cure for every individual with cystic fibrosis, and make sure they have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives.
  • We fund research and drug development, advance high-quality, specialized care, and partner with and advocate for the CF community.
  • We are working with researchers and biotech companies around the world to invest in genetic therapies. These may be our best path forward to a cure, because they could benefit everyone with CF no matter what specific genetic mutation they have.

How can I help?

There has never been a more exciting time to be involved with the Foundation. Here are a few easy ways you can connect:

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