What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that affects different body systems, but it is notoriously known for creating thick mucus in the lungs and pancreatic ducts.  Because the mucus is extremely thick, it is not easily cleared by the lungs and leads to an optimal breeding ground for bacteria.  This results in chronic lung infections that damage the lung tissue overtime, which causes respiratory disorders.  Also, the mucus obstructs the pancreatic duct, preventing the normal flow of pancreatic enzymes to the GI tract.  Pancreatic enzymes assist the body by breaking down food into their simplest form, so the body can absorb vital nutrients for proper growth.  Obstruction of the pancreatic duct can cause vitamin deficiencies,  emaciation, a weak immune system, and lethargy.  Eventually this could lead to inflammation of the pancreas and a decrease in the production of insulin, resulting in the development of Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes.

How do you get CF?

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder, therefore individuals are born with CF.  This means that both parents have to be carriers of the CF gene in order for their children to have CF.  CF is NOT transmitted between people via skin contact, respiratory droplets, or blood.

How Many People Have CF?

Data has shown that about 30,000 people in the United States have Cystic Fibrosis.  But the number of carriers of the CF gene is 1 out of 29 people in the world, and it increases to 1 out of 25 people among the caucasian population.

Is there a cure for CF?

Currently there is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, but through advancements in medicine and having a better understanding of the disease, researchers have developed new medications and improved technology to combat the symptoms associated with CF.  Research for a cure is being performed by numerous companies throughout the world.

Are People with CF Sick All of the Time?

Individuals that stick to their daily routine of medications and treatments decrease their chances of developing lung infections.  It is paramount for all people with CF to exercise frequently, eat a well balanced diet that is rich in calories and vitamins, and stay on top of their treatments.  By doing so, it can increase their chance of living a healthier life.

What daily treatments are involved with CF?

Adhering to strict daily routine and not skipping treatments is key to decreasing infections.  In a typical day individuals with CF have two 30 minute sessions of chest percussion therapy (CPT).  This is conducted either by hand or with a mechanical vest that vibrates.  CPT loosens mucus in the respiratory tract so it can be expelled from the lungs.  During CPT drugs are administered via a nebulizer to assist in the clearance of mucus from the lungs.  Depending on what specific pathogenic microorganisms are present in each individual, certain antibiotics will be administered.  Synthetic oral pancreatic enzymes are required prior to each meal in order to break down and absorb nutrients.  Also, insulin may need to be administered with each meal if the person develops diabetes.

  • The information provided is about the basic concepts of Cystic Fibrosis and its treatment.  For more detailed information about CF  visit our related links located on the home page.