The Life Expectancy for Cystic Fibrosis Patients in Canada Is 10 Years Higher Than in the U.S.

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by Wendy Henderson |

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In this video from Healthcare Triage, host Aaron Carroll talks briefly about cystic fibrosis (CF) and how it affects the body. He then goes on to explain that in the U.S., those with the condition can live into their 40s, but in Canada, those with the condition are living much longer.

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In Canada in 2013, the average life expectancy for a person with cystic fibrosis was 50.9 years compared to 40.6 in the U.S. There are different theories as to why there is such a large difference between the neighboring countries: One school of thought is that Canadians with CF are more likely to have lung transplants. About 10 percent of CF patients go on to have lung transplants in Canada compared to 6.5 percent in the U.S.

Another theory is that the Canadian health service had an aggressive nutritional support program in the 1970s, encouraging CF patients to eat high-calorie, high-fat diets long before their American counterparts.

However, the most likely reason for such a difference in life expectancy is the way the healthcare system is run. The entire population of Canada receives free healthcare for life through the government, whereas Americans need to take out health insurance.

MORE: Eight tips for staying hydrated with cystic fibrosis. 

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