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Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

  1. clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
  2. obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms

People with CF can have a variety of symptoms, including:

  1. very salty-tasting skin
  2. persistent coughing, at times with phlegm
  3. frequent lung infections
  4. wheezing or shortness of breath
  5. poor growth/weight gain in spite of a good appetite
  6. frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements
Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

People living with cystic fibrosis must follow a regular treatment routine to stay healthy and maintain optimal lung function.

Early treatment for CF can improve your quality of life and increase your lifespan.

  1. Medications
  2. Exercise
  3. Nutrition
  4. Oxygen therapy
  5. Respiratory therapies
  6. Pulmonary rehabilitation
  7. techniques to trigger strong coughs that help loosen and clear thick mucus from the airways.
  8. Surgery (Lung Transplantation)

In some cases a lung transplantation is needed. Click on the lick just above to learn more about lung transplants for CF patients.