Cystic Fibrosis: What is it and why am I researching it?

Cystic Fibrosis is a life shortening disease that is caused by a faulty gene and is sadly incurable. It affects over 10,000 people in the UK alone and its something you are born with, you can’t catch or develop it. CF has been a large part of my life since my younger brother was diagnosed with it at the age of 3. Luckily for him, it was diagnosed early and ever since has been treated constantly allowing him to have a greater grasp of life.

More than 2.5 million people in the UK carry one of the faulty genes (1 in 25) however it is only when two parents carry the faulty gene.

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What exactly does Cystic Fibrosis do? It causes the body to produce mucus within the lungs affecting both the lungs and digestive system. Repeated chest infections, poor weight gain and serious coughing are some of the symptoms of this disease. One of the main forms of medication for Cystic Fibrosis is physiotherapy. There are multiple techniques/products available to those with CF and everyday things are adapted and advanced for the better. With over 1,500 identified mutations of Cystic Fibrosis, there are several different severities of the disease which change the form of physiotherapy people must take.

41 years old is the current predicted survival age of someone with Cystic Fibrosis, its quite a young age considering the average life expectancy up until 2012 was 81. Although this is just expectancy details, its still something that I aim to help increase in any way I can. My family have been fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis main charity Cystic Fibrosis Trust ever since my younger brothers diagnosis and the help that I have seen given to him, I will never stop. If I can do anything to help with this horrible disease I would gladly do it, hence the choice of subject area for my honours project.

On a positive note Nathan Charles, an Australian rugby union player, is believed to be the very first person in the world to play a contact sport professionally with Cystic Fibrosis. Over the summer of 2014 Charles was called up to the Australian Rugby team making the substitutes bench against France. It shows that even with the disease you can always achieve your goals by focusing! Thats what I’ll be doing with my project this year and hopefully have something I can be proud of at the end!

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