The month of May is Cystic fibrosis awareness month. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition, caused by a faulty gene that affects the movement of salt and water in and out of cells. This, along with recurrent infections, can result in a build-up of thick, sticky mucus in the body’s tubes and passageways – particularly the lungs and digestive system.

Anyone can inherit cystic fibrosis if their parents carry the gene. However, carriers usually have just one copy of a defective gene and may never experience symptoms or even know they carry the gene.

Approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States have cystic fibrosis and more than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the defective cystic fibrosis gene.

Cystic fibrosis cannot be prevented. However, genetic testing should be performed for couples who have cystic fibrosis or have relatives with this disease.

The life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis has doubled in the last 30 years, and a number of treatments are available to help control the symptoms, prevent complications, and make the condition easier to live with.  However, there is still no cure for this devastating disease.