About Cystic Fibrosis

- What Is 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: clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and 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.

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

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

Statistics and Facts
  • currently about 30,000 people living with cystic fibrosis in the United States alone
  • more than75% of the patientsare diagnosed by age two
  • median age of survival for a person with CF is currently 47 years
  • there is currently no cure for CF
  • starting from a young age, lung damage may occur before it can even be noticed
  • can cause damage to the airways, which often results in a condition called bronchiectasis
  • 31% of people living with CF experienced complications from asthma.
  • people with CF, bile is thicker. As a result, the bile ducts can become blocked, leading to irritation or inflammation in the liver.
  • Poor growth and slow weight gain, even if a lot of food is eaten
  • people with CF may also experience distal intestinal obstruction syndrome
  • Impact on the sinuses
  • Nasal polyps
  • Sinus disease
  • fertility issues for males and females
Testing for Cystic Fibrosis

How can you know for sure if you or your child has cystic fibrosis? If someone in your family has the disease, could you pass it down to your children? 

There are several ways to help answer these important questions.

Sweat Test — If a person shows symptoms of CF or if a baby has a positive newborn screen for CF, a doctor may order a sweat test. This simple, painless test is the best way to diagnose CF. It measures the concentration of salt in a person’s sweat. A high salt level indicates CF. 

Sweat tests should be done at a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited care center where strict guidelines help ensure accurate results. Click here to learn more about the sweat test. 

Newborn Screening —
Newborns screened for cystic fibrosis can benefit from early diagnosis and treatment, which can: improve growth, help keep lungs healthy, reduce hospital stays, and add years to life. 

While newborn screening is not a definitive diagnostic test for cystic fibrosis, it may lead to tests that can rule out or confirm a CF diagnosis. All states in the U.S. screen newborns for cystic fibrosis. 

Children Are Special
More than 30,000 children and young adults suffer with and fight cystic fibrosis on a daily basis. CF is a cruel and relentless life threatening disease to all those affected, most of whom are children. To keep our children healthy, CF parents clock hundreds of hours of lung treatments and thousands of pills annually to fight lung infections and malnutrition.
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- Standing Together for A Common Goal-

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