CF affects many organs, primarily the lungs and those responsible for digestion. In CF there is a problem with the protein that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the cells. Salt plays an important part in thinning out mucus in the body. Due to a lack of salt in the cells of someone with CF, mucus becomes thick and sticky. It then builds up in organs, including the lungs and pancreas. This mucus clogs the tiny air passages in the lungs and traps bacteria. Repeated infections and blockages can cause irreversible lung damage and death.
The median age of death in Australia is just 27. The life expectancy for a baby born with the disease today is 37. Medical advances are likely to result in a major increase to these figures but the researchers need funding to make that happen. For more information on what Cystic Fibrosis is click here.