Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-shortening disease. But thanks to research that has produced new knowledge about CF and more effective treatments, life expectancy is increasing. In 1938, when CF was first recognized as a disease, most babies with CF died before their first birthday. By the 1950s, people with CF were living a bit longer but rarely made it past early childhood. Things started to improve more in the 1980s when people with CF could expect to live into their mid to late twenties. Since the discovery of the CFTR gene in 1989, life expectancy has continued to increase. The average life expectancy for people living with CF today is 37 years, but some people live much longer -– and that number is continuing to rise. Because of the advances in treatment and technology, some researchers predict that babies born in the 2000s will live well into their fifties.
Nicholas J Simmonds et al., “Growing Old with Cystic Fibrosis - The Characteristics of Long-term Survivors of Cystic Fibrosis”. Respiratory Medicine (2008). doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2008.10.011. 12 July 2009.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 2007 Annual Patient Registry Report. 12 July 2009.