Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease. It is caused by a defective gene on one of the chromosomes which has been inherited from the parents.
The severity varies greatly from person to person, and largely depends on how much the lungs are affected. Deterioration in condition is inevitable, and eventually leads to death. Treatments can slow some of the changes that occur in the lungs, but there is currently no cure. Gene therapy holds great promise for treating cystic fibrosis.
The defective gene causes the body to produce lots of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs which has to be removed by massage. Sufferers are prone to chest infections. It also causes excess mucus in the pancreas.
Cystic Fibrosis is caused by a mutation on a specific gene. It is a recessive gene, so you can be a carrier but not suffer from the condition, and your children will not necessarily inherit the mutation.
Cystic fibrosis carriers have one normal gene and one mutated gene.
If a child gets both copies of the chromosomes containing the cystic fibrosis gene, then they have two copies of the mutation, and so will be born with cystic fibrosis.
If one parent is not a carrier, then there is no risk of having a child with cystic fibrosis because it is a recessive gene and so the dominant ‘healthy’ gene overrides it.
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