Surfing May Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers

Researchers have found that surfing may be the key to prolonging the life of people suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease of mucus and sweat glands, affecting the lungs and digestive system. This disease causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs, leading to life-threatening lung infections, and it also obstructs the pancreas, stopping natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

This disease affects about 30,000 people in the U.S. and 70,000 people worldwide. In the 1950's, children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis rarely lived to make it to elementary school. Today, people can expect to live in the 30's, 40's and beyond.

A few years ago, Australian doctors discovered that young surfers with cystic fibrosis had noticeably healthier lungs. The doctors determined that inhaling saltwater mist had a powerful effect on rehydrating the lining of the lungs and allowing cystic fibrosis patients to more easily eliminate bacteria-contaminated mucus. Knowing this, researchers then developed a hypertonic saline solution, which is now used daily by people with cystic fibrosis.

Called the "saltwater" breakthrough treatment, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation would like to raise more awareness and be able to continue research into a possible cure for this disease. A chapter of the foundation formed a "PIPELINE TO A CURE" campaign to raise funds and to bring about global awareness of the unique bond between the sport of surfing and those with cystic fibrosis.

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Source: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation