Our old CF Commercial that plays on MCTV. Still working on this years.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Let's Learn About CF - Part 1

One of the things we were surprised to learn in those early days was how common the CF gene really is. Approximately 30,000 people in the United States have cystic fibrosis. An additional ten million more—or about one in every 31 Americans—are carriers of the defective CF gene, but do not have the disease. You could be a carrier of CF even if no one in your family has CF and even if you already have children without CF. About one of every 30 Caucasian people (about 3 in 100 or about 3%) carries the defective gene. If your family background is not white, your chance of being a carrier is less than 1 in 30.

What causes Cystic Fibrosis you may ask? Here is an explanation from cff.org that really helped me understand:

"Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease. That means people inherit it from their parents through genes (or DNA), which also determine a lot of other characteristics including height, hair color and eye color. Genes, found in the nucleus of all the body's cells, control cell function by serving as the blueprint for the production of proteins.
The defective gene that is responsible for causing cystic fibrosis is on chromosome 7. To have cystic fibrosis, a person must inherit two copies of the defective CF gene—one copy from each parent. If both parents are carriers of the CF gene (i.e., they each have one copy of the defective gene), their child will have a 25% chance of inheriting both defective copies and having cystic fibrosis, a 50% chance of inheriting one defective copy and being a carrier, and a 25% chance of not having CF or carrying the gene."

CF carriers do not show CF symptoms themselves, but can pass the problem CF gene to their children. So for my sisters & I, apparently one or perhaps even both of our parents were carriers of the CF gene.

So what does it mean if someone has CF?

Cystic fibrosis is the most common, fatal genetic disease in the United States. CF causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs, leads to infection, and blocks the pancreas, which stops digestive enzymes from reaching the intestine where they are required in order to digest food.
I will elaborate more on the symptoms of CF in Part 2.

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