As of 2015, the prognosis for cystic fibrosis is hopeful for many children and younger adults, but chronic lung disease sidelines adults, according to MedlinePlus. The average life expectancy is age 37 for cystic fibrosis patients. Researchers continue to search for a cure.
Most children with cystic fibrosis stay in good health until adulthood, MedlinePlus explains. Younger adults often graduate from college and work, but as they grow older, many cystic fibrosis patients experience lung disease that leaves them unable to work. Death is often attributed to lung complications, especially chronic infections.
Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease in which mucus that the body produces is too thick and gummy, MedlinePlus reports. It affects the work of both the lungs and the pancreas, creating both breathing and digestive problems. It may also affect the male reproductive system and sweat glands.
Doctors typically treat patients with drugs to thin the mucus, making it easier to cough up, MedlinePlus says. Prescribed antibiotics help with infections. Patients learn to clear mucus from their lungs once or more a day. Sometimes doctors prescribe pancreatic enzymes to help with the digestive issues. Patients often follow a special diet and are encouraged to exercise several times a week.