Why Canadians With Cystic Fibrosis Live 10 Years Longer Than Americans

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by Wendy Henderson |

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A study has found that Canadians who have cystic fibrosis are likely to live 10 years longer than their American counterparts.

MORE: How this 19-year-old embraces life with terminal cystic fibrosis. 

According to a report from CNN, the average life expectancy of someone with cystic fibrosis in Canada is 50.9 years compared to just 40.6 years in the U.S. Although survival rates have grown in both countries for CF patients over the years, Canadian males have managed to increase their life expectancy much more than all American CF patients and Canadian women with CF.

The researchers who studied the data say that there are three main reasons for the difference in life expectancy between the two countries: insurance, lung transplants, and diet.

CF patients in Canada do not require insurance for treatment and it’s not surprising that American CFers with good insurance live longer than those without.

The Canadian health system also has a different way of determining who should have a lung transplant and consequently, a greater proportion of CF patients have lung transplants in Canada than in the U.S.

Finally, Canadian doctors first began advising patients with cystic fibrosis to eat a high-fat diet in the 1970s, a practice that eventually became common worldwide, but wasn’t adapted by the U.S. until the 1980s. Find out more about this study here.

MORE: Five myths about lung transplants.

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