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Cystic Fibrosis is a lifelong, hereditary disease. It usually the affects the lungs causing thick, sticky mucus to form, making it difficult to breathe. It also blocks the pancreas pathways leading to the digestive system, which causes problems for properly digesting food. Cystic Fibrosis, also known as CF, is the second most life-threatening disorder, occurring in childhood. Some symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis include, salty tasting skin, wheezing or shortness of breath, persistent cough, frequent lung infections (such as pneumonia or bronchitis), poor weight gain, and growth. Typically most people that are Northern European Caucasian descent are more likely to have CF, than any other race in America. Approximately 30,000 Americans have CF, and 1,000s are diagnosed each year.
Life expectancy for people who have CF, has gone up since 1930. Most people back in the 30s, would be lucky to make it to elementary school age. Most people with CF now, have a better chance to live well in their 30s and 40s, although some cases are more severe than others. Being a carrier of the disease may make you reconsider having children, going back to the notion that a 1,000 people are diagnosed with this disease each year in America. Imagine if every parent who was a carrier, did not have children because they were afraid of being hurt later on in life, that’s at least 1,000 people who will never be born.
We all hope that our children turn out to be healthy babies as they are born. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case for some families. With today’s technology, parents can get a test to see whether or not they are a potential carrier, not only for CF, but for most diseases as well. Living with Cystic Fibrosis can have a strong psychological impact on the people with the disease and their families and friends.Parents who discover that they are potential carriers of CF, know that their child may only be with them for a short amount of time. Parents may encounter feelings or periods of depression and anxiety, processing emotions such a guilt, worry overtime spent alone or with a partner, or money concerns. The life expectancy for people with CF doesn’t always accurately measure the severity of the disease within each individual person.
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