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National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month – May 2023

National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month is observed each year during May in the U.S. This month is an opportunity for people to educate themselves about the lung disease that affects more than 30,000 people in America. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes constant lung infections. It affects more than just the lungs, though. It may also impact other organs in the body where there’s an accumulation of mucus, such as the pancreas and the male reproductive system. While we still haven’t found a cure for cystic fibrosis, advancements in medical science have made it possible for patients with the condition to live a normal life. However, they are still at risk of infection and other problems.

History of National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month has been observed since the mid-1990s. It helps bring awareness to this genetic disease and raises money so that research can be carried out to find a cure.

The disease causes mutations that prevent an essential protein from stopping functioning. This results in thick, sticky mucus attaching to organ membranes. In the lungs, this mucus blocks the airways and causes bacteria and other germs to become trapped. This, in turn, paves the way for severe respiratory distress, inflammation, and infections. Patients with cystic fibrosis are also at high risk of other infections due to a weakened immune system. Patients have to be extra careful about germs and need to uphold good hygiene practices. In the pancreas, the mucus build-up hampers the release of enzymes that assist with the absorption of nutrients essential for survival. Similarly, the disease can harm the liver and lead to reduced liver function or even liver failure.

Raising awareness about cystic fibrosis is crucial for several reasons. Cystic fibrosis is a rare but severe disease, but many individuals suffering from it are not correctly diagnosed and do not have access to proper care. It is also a greatly misunderstood disease. People believe that cystic fibrosis is contagious, which is untrue. With increased understanding, compassion, and awareness, we can help patients with cystic fibrosis live dignified and healthy lives.

National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month timeline

1938
The Disease is First Described

Pathologist Dorothy Andersen first describes the disease.

1963
Diagnostic Criteria is Listed

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the U.S. highlights how to diagnose and manage the disease.

1989
The C.F.T.R. Gene is Identified

The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (C.F.T.R.) gene is identified and linked to cystic fibrosis.

2010
An Increase in Lifespan is Noted

A report reveals that the lifespan of individuals with cystic fibrosis is increasing at 1.8% each year.

National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month FAQs

What is the main cause of cystic fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease caused by a mutation in a gene called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (C.F.T.R.) gene.

What are the symptoms of cystic fibrosis?

Lung infections or pneumonia; wheezing; coughing with thick mucus; bulky, greasy bowel movements; and constipation or diarrhea.

Can cystic fibrosis be cured?

There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis. However, a range of treatments is available to help control the symptoms, prevent or reduce complications, and make the condition easier to live with.

How to Observe National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

  1. Talk about it

    Observe National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month by talking about the disorder. Share infographics, resources, and reading material on the disease with your friends and family.

  2. Donate to research organizations

    Know of any organizations that look after patients with cystic fibrosis and research the illness? Consider giving them a donation during National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month so they can continue doing good work.

  3. Involve your community

    A great way to observe National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month is by encouraging your community members, including local councilors, to take up the cause of raising awareness about cystic fibrosis. The more people who are informed, the better.

5 Important Facts About Cystic Fibrosis

  1. It affects many Americans

    Approximately 30,000 Americans live with cystic fibrosis.

  2. Many more carry the gene

    More than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the gene.

  3. Treatments have improved

    Thanks to medical advancements, treatment options can now help cystic fibrosis patients live into their 20s and 30s, with some even living into their 40s.

  4. It is the most common genetic disorder

    It is the most common fatal genetic disorder in Americans.

  5. Newborns can be screened for cystic fibrosis

    This allows the patient’s family to seek early medical intervention.

Why National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month is Important

  1. It highlights the needs of cystic fibrosis patients

    National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month is important. It addresses the needs of thousands of individuals affected by the disorder.

  2. It builds a community

    National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month also helps build communities of patients with cystic fibrosis and their caregivers. They can come together to share their stories, challenges, and helpful resources.

  3. It places a focus on the disorder

    National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month draws focus to the need for treatment and cure of the disorder. The month encourages medical practitioners to work towards finding a cure.

National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday
2026May 1Friday
2027May 1Saturday
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