Life Expectancy When You’re Living With Cystic Fibrosis

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by Wendy Henderson |

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Life with cystic fibrosis can be challenging. Following diagnosis, patients need to spend hours each day undergoing chest physiotherapy to help clear their lungs of excess mucus — an important element in their ongoing treatment critical to preventing lung infections.

MORE: Eight steps for creating your own personal fitness plan.

As well chest physiotherapy, those with cystic fibrosis may need to take enzymes with each meal to help them digest their food and absorb all the nutrients.

Children with cystic fibrosis tend to remain fairly healthy if they take their medications and look after themselves. However, in adulthood lung function begins to decline and health begins to deteriorate.

Each person with cystic fibrosis is different, so the severity of the disease will vary from person to person. Patients are advised to stay as active as possible to improve lung function and overall health. Because cystic fibrosis affects the pancreas and its ability to produce digestive enzymes, many people with CF will need to eat extra calories in order to stay nourished. Find out more about living with cystic fibrosis.

Cleanliness is also an issue for those living with cystic fibrosis. In order to avoid infections, patients must be vigilant about hand-washing and wary of shared items and surfaces to avoid germs.

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As patients age, they are more likely to experience complications of the disease. Lower lung function can often lead to infections which may require hospital treatment. Damage to the airways can cause other lung diseases such as bronchiectasis. Patients may also require oxygen therapy.

Having cystic fibrosis is no barrier to sexual relationships, but males with the condition are usually infertile and many women have problems conceiving. However, fertility treatment is often a successful solution.

The average life expectancy of a person with cystic fibrosis in the U.S. is approximately 37.5 years with many living much longer. However, this figure is constantly increasing as researchers discover new treatments and medications. In 1962, the average life expectancy of a child with cystic fibrosis was just 10 years old. It’s now predicted that children born with cystic fibrosis in the 2000s will survive into their 50s (source:

MORE: CF Awareness Month: What to know about germs and cystic fibrosis. 

Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.