There are roughly 30,000 people living in the United States with Cystic Fibrosis. A Chronic disease caused by CFTR gene mutation. This mutation impacts the way protein is made in the body leading to inefficient salt transport over the cell membrane resulting in the buildup of sticky, thick mucus in different tissues and organs.
Roughly 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year across the United States. In some instances germs affect people living with cystic fibrosis at higher rates than others. Influenza is also known as the flu, is particularly contagious during the winter months. Although everyone becomes infected, for people living with CF getting the flu can lead to significant lung infection.
During this time we ask that you help patients living with chronic illnesses by adhering to public health officials’ recommendations. Follow handwashing guidelines, maintain social distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and if you have a cough, fever, or have difficulties breathing seek medical care early. See CDC.gov for updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.
BRIGETTE MCKERN SHARES HER JOURNEY LIVING WITH CYSTIC FIBROSIS
My name’s Bridget McKern, I’m 36, I’m right now. I’m mostly a professional patient and I do work part-time as well in a library. Right now I am just maintaining my health and I hope to travel more. That’s my plan. When we look at cystic fibrosis CF, that is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and the digestive system. It’s a genetic disease and basically, the lungs filled up too much mucus. They produce too much mucus so bacteria and illnesses can live in there.
Usually, you get lung illnesses progressively, it’s hard to get rid of them. So you do things like nebulizers like asthma patients would do to break up that mucus, but just over time it takes over your lungs and you also build up cysts in your lungs. Transplants are needed at some point. When I was four years old I came down with pneumonia, I ended up in the hospital and that’s when they diagnosed me.
I had symptoms that I was showing, they tested me and found that I had it. I was a pretty healthy child, I wasn’t in the hospital again until I was an adult and then it kind of started. My disease progressed, my lungs got worse. When I was 30 I was listed to receive a double lung transplant. I waited two years on the waiting list and then received my transplant and that was three and a half years ago. So now I’m just trying to maintain my health.
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