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May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month: Join the Cause

May 18, 2017
Hands holding a purple awareness ribbon.

Imagine struggling with the most basic of human functions — breathing. You feel winded after a small amount of exercise. You have to beat on your chest to help clear your airways. You see a specialist every 3 months, but know that your condition will only get worse over time.

If you are one of the thousands of Americans with cystic fibrosis, you probably know exactly how this feels.

Earlier this year, Governor Deal proclaimed May 2017 as Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in Georgia. This month we recognize those suffering from this life-shortening disease and the organizations working towards a cure and developing treatments to improve quality of life.

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

In short, cystic fibrosis, or CF, is a genetic disease that affects the lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses, and sex organs.

CF causes mucus to become thick and sticky and build up in a person’s lungs and airways. While mucus in most of us helps keep our organs from drying out or getting infected, the built up mucus in the organs of a person with CF makes it easy for bacteria to grow. The illness is progressive, causing repeated lung infections that can severely damage the person’s lungs.

Symptoms and severity vary from person to person and over time, but often include:

  • Coughing,
  • Lung congestion and infections,
  • Shortness of breath, and
  • Stunted development.

People with CF are at a higher risk for diabetes, bone-thinning conditions, and infertility.

CF Treatments

The main treatments for CF include chest physical therapy, exercise, and medicines. People who face an advanced lung disease might need help getting oxygen with nasal prongs or a mask. Severe cases may also require a lung transplant.

Additionally, nutritional therapy and medicines can help treat digestive problems.

These treatments can reduce symptoms and extend a person’s life into their 50s, 60s, and beyond — especially if started at an early age. Even still, researchers have not found a cure for CF.

Can I Help?

Yes.

The first thing you can do is share what you know about cystic fibrosis. Send this blog post to your friends, use the hashtags #CysticFibrosis and #CFawareness, and learn more about CF from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

You can also support the cause by donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a leader in CF research. The CF Foundation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into CF research, drug development, and care initiatives, over $7 million of this invested right here in Georgia.

Walk to Spread Awareness and Raise Support

If you’re looking for a fun way to participate, join a “Great Strides” walk. There are 7 more walks in Georgia planned for 2017; The next walk is this Saturday in Atlanta! You can walk with a team or as an individual. When you register online, you’ll set a fundraising goal and have the chance to get started with a personal donation. Then, just ask your friends and family to help you reach your goal.

Support the cause. Spread the word and help us find a cure to cystic fibrosis.

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Experience Designer and Editorial Manager for GeorgiaGov. She visually organizes information and writes blogs on a variety of government-related topics.