Cystic Fibrosis is the most common inherited disorder of the white race which lead to death at a young age. Cystic fibrosis is not a contagious disease, but inherited. The individuals who suffer from this disorder have two abnormal genes which are inherited from both parents who are carriers of the disease without most times knowing it. In Greece today the carriers of the abnormal gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis are estimated at 1 in 30 (4-5% of total population).
If two carriers of the disease marry, the risk of delivering a child with Cystic Fibrosis is 1 in 4. Every year in Greece it is estimated that one affected child in 2000-2500 births is born! For this reason it is now necessary to genetically test couples for Cystic Fibrosis to couples who plan to have children.
The main feature of the disease is the production of highly dense mucus which blocks the various organs and ducts of the body, especially the lungs and pancreas, resulting in heavy pancreatic insufficiency from a very young age and the occurrence of severe chronic respiratory infections that gradually destroy the lungs and lead the patient to respiratory failure and death. The disease affects many other organs of the body such as the liver, leading to liver failure, sinuses leading to the evolution of polyps and sinusitis from a very young age. Additionally bones and joints are affected leading to rheumatoid arthritis, osteopenia and osteoporosis. The male genital system is also affected, leading to the majority of cases, fertility problems. The effect on the bowel leads to bowel obstruction. Because of pancreatic insufficiency, patients hardly put any weight on, and frequently they develop diabetes.