What is Cystic Fibrosis?

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cystic fibrosis (CF) as an “inherited disease of the secretory glands.” These glands include those that make mucus and sweat. Inherited means that the disease is passed through the genes from parents to children. The parents themselves may not have the disease; instead, each one has a gene that they pass on to their children.

In people without CF, the mucus that lines some organs and body cavities is a substance that is slippery and watery and it helps keep the linings of certain organs from drying out or getting infected. For people with CF, the mucus becomes thick and sticky, builds up in the lungs, and blocks airways and ducts. NHLBI states that CF “affects the lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses, and sex organs.”

Currently, there is no cure for CF. However, treatment can help ease symptoms and reduce complications. There are four goals in the treatment of CF: (1) preventing and controlling lung infections; (2) loosening and removing mucus from the lungs; (3) preventing and treatment of intestinal blockage; and (4) providing adequate nutrition.  According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment options include medications, chest physical therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, surgery, and other treatments. If you have been diagnosed with CF, we recommend speaking to your medical team about the best treatment options for you.

We ran a search in REHABDATA and found several articles in our collection related to CF. Here are several of those articles:

  • Psychosocial adaptation and adherence among adults with CF: A delicate balance. (J67973).
  • Occupational therapy practitioners’ knowledge and perceptions of childhood asthma and CF. (J66991).
  • “No time to play”: Perceptions toward physical activity in youth with cystic fibrosis. (J63293).
  • Cystic fibrosis and achieving vocational success: The key role of the rehabilitation counselor. (J62797).

Check out these resources for people with CF:

  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) provides information for people with CF and their caregivers; provides information and news through their blog; and provides support through local chapters, finding a CF center, and financial resources.
  • CFLiving has information for children, teens, adults, and parents. They also have a resource page.
  • CysticFibrosis.com is the largest social media network dedicated to the CF community. Their website contains forums, blogs, and information on different topics relevant to the CF community.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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