The Facts About Cystic Fibrosis and New England Disability

Cystic fibrosis is one of the chronic qualifying conditions under the Social Security Administration (SSA) listing of impairments. Considered a disease of the respiratory system, cystic fibrosis can be disabling. About 30,000 children and adults suffer from this disease in the U.S. and 70,000 throughout the world. Cystic fibrosis patients suffer from an abnormally thick and sticky buildup of mucus in both the lungs and the pancreas. This life-threatening condition can cause very dangerous lung infections and serious problems in the digestive system. An inherited defective gene causes this disease, which is passed down through families. While millions of Americans are thought to carry this gene, the number of actual cystic fibrosis cases is fewer, because both parents must carry it.

Facts About Cystic Fibrosis

Most of the time, children are diagnosed with cystic fibrosis by the age of two, but sometimes the condition can go undetected until age 18 or even older. When the disease is diagnosed beyond childhood, the severity is usually less. Only 50 years ago, most children with cystic fibrosis didn’t live long enough to attend grade school. Today, however, with more advanced treatments, patients are expected to live at least until their 30s and sometimes far beyond. Here are some of the facts about cystic fibrosis:

  • Each year, about 1,000 cases are diagnosed.
  • About 45% of sufferers are over the age of 18.
  • Most, about 70% of patients, are diagnosed by age two.


Symptoms of cystic fibrosis vary, but diagnosed patients may experience:

  • Skin that tastes very salty;
  • Slow growth and/or poor weight gain, even though diet is good;
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing;
  • Recurrent lung infections;
  • Chronic coughing that often involves a good deal of phlegm;
  • Difficult bowel movements or frequent, bulky stools.

Cystic fibrosis mainly affects people of European descent. About one in 3,300 Caucasian children in the U.S. born in 1997 was diagnosed with CF. In contrast, only one in 15,000 American children of African descent and one in 32,000 Asian-American babies were diagnosed the same year. Today, researchers are hard at work both to improve the quality of life for CF patients and to find a cure. Two potential cures include gene therapy and the development of drugs that will stimulate small molecules to combat the genetic mutation.

Organizations like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation work tirelessly to defeat this life-threatening condition. A simple online search will take you to many valuable websites devoted to the education and support of CF sufferers.

Disability Benefits For Cystic Fibrosis

If you, a family member or someone you know has cystic fibrosis and is unable to work steadily at a Massachusetts job, the SSA disability program may be able to help with disability benefits. Applying for benefits can be a confusing and frustrating experience, though, and hiring a New England disability law specialist is often the best option. Keefe Disability Law can help guide you through the Massachusetts disability application process. Call us toll free today at 888-904-6847 for a free case evaluation. You can also order one of our free reports, starting with Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer