Most people with CF will experience problems with lung function, which can drop to less than 20% of the value expected in someone with fully functioning lungs. A combination of physiotherapy and medication can help control lung infections and prevent the build-up of mucus that causes the damage.
If a bad lung infection occurs, which can happen often in some individuals, intravenous antibiotics are required, which may have to be administered in hospital. The rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, and ongoing problems with bacteria such as Burkholderia cepacia complex, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Mycobacterium abscessus, means that more and better antibiotics are needed.
Research we are funding
We continue to fund research aimed at understanding these bacteria and other micro-organisms and finding better ways to fight them.
For many people with CF a double lung transplant becomes the only option. While this tends to improve quality of life, the operation comes with risks and after a transplant certain drugs are required to prevent the donor organs from being rejected.
Advances in medical science mean that people with cystic fibrosis are managing their symptoms more effectively and living longer and healthier lives than ever before, and we will keep funding research until the day that everyone with the condition can live a life unlimited.
Owing to the increased risk from infections, people with cystic fibrosis should not meet each other face-to-face. Although the infection-causing bacteria do not pose a risk to people without cystic fibrosis, individuals may have different types of bacteria that would prove dangerous to each other. Find out more about cross-infection and what it means for people with cystic fibrosis. You can also watch our video from cystic fibrosis nurse Jacqui Cowlard explaining more about cross-infection.
Antibiotic resistance is the process by which bacteria become immune to an antibiotic treatment that used to be effective against them. Overuse of antibiotics in the past, as well as people using them for things that they are not designed to treat (such as the common cold) and stopping taking them before they finish the whole course have all added to the problem, which is now a global concern.
Chronic bacterial infections are common in people with cystic fibrosis, and increasing resistance to common antibiotics is leaving clinicians with no option but to prescribe older, less effective antibiotics that can come with a host of unwanted side effects. The Trust is funding research into alternatives to antibiotics and the development of new ones. To find out more, read a statement made by Dr Keith Brownlee, Director of Impact at the Trust for World Antibiotic Awareness week 2015. You can also watch a video by the World Health Organisation, explaining to individuals why it's important to only take prescribed antibiotics and to keep taking them until the end of the course regardless of how quickly their symptoms clear up.