Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

What is Cystic Fibrosis (CF)?

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disorder that causes mucus to build up and clog various organs in the body, particularly the lungs and digestive tract. People with CF suffer from recurrent lung infections and difficulty with digestion.

CF is caused by a mutation in a gene called the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR). This mutation results in the CFTR protein not functioning properly, causing a buildup of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs, digestive tract, and other organs. This buildup of mucus blocks the airways and traps bacteria, leading to chronic infections, damage to the lungs, inadequate nutrition, and eventually, death.

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

People with CF can experience a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Persistent coughing with mucus production
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Recurrent lung infections
  • Excessive appetite, but poor weight gain
  • Salty skin
  • Digestive issues, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea
  • Delayed growth

Diagnosis and Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis

CF is usually diagnosed through a special genetic blood test called a CFTR mutation test. This test looks for mutations in the CFTR gene to determine whether an individual has CF.

Treatment for CF includes antibiotics and other medications to treat lung infections, a special diet to help with digestion, airway-clearing treatments to clear mucus from the lungs, and oxygen therapy. In some cases, a lung transplant may be necessary.

Living with Cystic Fibrosis

Living with CF is difficult, but advancements in treatments and therapies make it possible for people with CF to lead a relatively normal life. People with CF should take every day precautions to avoid infection, eat a healthy diet to ensure adequate nutrition and energy, and adhere to their prescribed treatments and therapies.