According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), cystic fibrosis (CF) is a “genetic condition that affects a protein in the body,” which can impact the body’s cells, tissues, and the glands that make mucus and sweat. The mucus glands of people with CF make thick, sticky mucus that can build up and lead to blockages, damage, or infections in some organs. Some people with CF may experience life-threatening complications or severe symptoms, while others have few or no signs or symptoms at all. The symptoms of CF depend on the severity of the condition and on which organs are affected. Pulmonary or respiratory problems, including lung infections, are the most serious and common complications of CF.
To diagnose CF, a doctor may look for specific signs and symptoms and the results from certain tests, such as sweat and genetic tests. Currently, there is no cure for CF; however, advances in treatment are helping people with CF live longer and healthier lives. Interventions to control symptoms and prevent complications include proactive treatments to slow down lung disease as much as possible, treatments focused on airway clearance, surgery, and medications to prevent and fight infections. If you or your child have been diagnosed with CF, it is important that you continue treatments, follow up with doctors, and learn how to manage the condition. If you think that you or your child have CF, contact your doctor right away.
Research has sought to address varying treatments and inclusion for people with CF, including pulmonary rehabilitation, physical activity, and psychosocial adaptation for people with CF. If you would like to learn more about CF, contact NARIC’s information specialists to assist you with your search!