Cystic Fibrosis is the most common inherited life-shortening disease in the Caucasian population. The incidence is 1 in 2,500 live births in North America. The defective gene and its protein causes the body to produce thick sticky mucous that clogs the lungs and leads to chronic life threatening lung infections with dilation and destruction of airways (called bronchiectasis). It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. Approximately 95% of patients with cystic fibrosis die from chronic respiratory failure. 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. Treatments require a multidisciplinary approach. Antibiotics, airway clearance techniques, airway hydration, mucous thinners and bronchodilators are the mainstay of treatment for CF lung disease. Learn more about cystic fibrosis >>.
Bronchiectasis, which is a part of cystic fibrosis lung disease, also can occur for other reasons. Bronchiectasis is thought to be due to the accumulation of infected secretions and chronic inflammation in the airways. Potential causes include immunodeficiencies, post infectious, and congenital abnormalities, amongst others. Treatment of non CF bronchiectasis is similar to that of cystic fibrosis related bronchiectasis and requires antibiotics, airway clearance techniques in addition to an comprehensive evaluation for underlying causes. Learn more about bronchiectasis >> .