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In Canada, Patients With Cystic Fibrosis Survive Longer Than U.S. Counterparts [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 15, 2017 02:00 AM EDT

Patients with cystic fibrosis in Canada survive longer than Americans suffering from the same disease. A new research found that there is a difference between the two, begging the question as to why it exists.

Cystic fibrosis is a disease which affects the lungs, digestive system and other body parts. It changes the way the body produces mucus and sweat.

The study comparing the survival of patients with the cystic fibrosis in Canada and the U.S. was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on March 14. Based on data from 42 Canadian clinics and 110 centers in the U.S., the median age of survival in both countries between 1990 and 2013 went up.

But compared to the U.S. patients, the survival rate in Canada in 1995 and 2005 rose more quickly. Not only is the median age of survival in Canada 10 years longer, the risk for death from cystic fibrosis was also 34 percent lower than in the U.S.

More cystic fibrosis patients in Canada had access to lung transplant - 10.3 percent received transplant compared to only 6.5 percent in the U.S., one of the reasons that may account for the longer life span. The researchers also found that the U.S. patients with private health insurance did not fall too far behind the Canadians who all benefit from a universal healthcare.

There is no known cure for cystic fibrosis as of date. It is a genetically inherited disease, according to WebMD. When a person receives two bad copies of the gene called CTFR from each parent, the body will then produce inappropriate levels of salt or water making the mucus too thick or the sweat too salty. It leads to the inability of the body to receive the right amount of oxygen and nutrients, or lose the same through sweat.

Newborns with cystic fibrosis taste salty when kissed. Older children often have respiratory diseases, cough up thick mucus, develop polyps in the nose and have wheezing or shortness of breath. Symptoms also include stomach pain, constipation, foul-smelling stool, low bone density, weight loss and clubbing of the fingertips and toes.

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