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Cystic Fibrosis

Also called: CF

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease of the mucus and sweat glands. It affects mostly your lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses, and sex organs. CF causes your mucus to be thick and sticky. The mucus clogs the lungs, causing breathing problems and making it easy for bacteria to grow. This can lead to repeated lung infections and lung damage.

The symptoms and severity of CF can vary. Some people have serious problems from birth. Others have a milder version of the disease that doesn't show up until they are teens or young adults. Sometimes you will have few symptoms, but later you may have more symptoms.

CF is diagnosed through various tests, such as gene, blood, and sweat tests. There is no cure for CF, but treatments have improved greatly in recent years. In the past, most deaths from CF were in children and teenagers. Today, with improved treatments, some people who have CF are living into their forties, fifties, or older. Treatments may include chest physical therapy, nutritional and respiratory therapies, medicines, and exercise.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

The following features are indicative of Cystic Fibrosis:
  • pancreatitis
  • infertility
  • recurrent pneumonia
  • a persistent cough that produces thick mucus
  • wheezing
  • breathlessness
  • exercise intolerance
  • poor weight gain and growth
  • severe constipation
  • greasy stools

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Common Causes of Cystic Fibrosis

The following are the most common causes of Cystic Fibrosis:
  • genetic mutations of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene

Risk Factors for Cystic Fibrosis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cystic Fibrosis:
  • family history
  • white people of Northern European ancestry

Prevention of Cystic Fibrosis

No, it is not possible to prevent Cystic Fibrosis.
  • genetic mutation
  • family history

Occurrence of Cystic Fibrosis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Cystic Fibrosis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Cystic Fibrosis most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-50 years

Common Gender

Cystic Fibrosis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cystic Fibrosis:
  • Newborn screening and diagnosis: To check the levels of the chemical immunoreactive trypsinogen (IRT) secreted by pancreas

Doctor for Diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis:
  • Medical geneticist
  • Pulmonologist

Complications of Cystic Fibrosis if untreated

Yes, Cystic Fibrosis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cystic Fibrosis is left untreated:
  • nasal polyps
  • bronchitis
  • hemoptysis
  • bronchiectasis
  • pneumothorax
  • respiratory failure
  • acute exacerbations
  • digestive system complications
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • diabetes
  • blocked bile duct
  • distal intestinal obstruction syndrome

Procedures for Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis

The following procedures are used to treat Cystic Fibrosis:
  • Nasal polyp removal surgery: To remove nasal polyps that obstruct breathing
  • Bowel surgery: To remove blocked bowel
  • Lung transplant: To treat life threatening breathing problems

Self-care for Cystic Fibrosis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cystic Fibrosis:
  • Exercise regularly: Helps loosen mucus in the airways, and strengthens the heart
  • Eliminate smoke: Helps treating the condition
  • Encourage hand-washing: Helps in providing protection against infection

Patient Support for Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis

The following actions may help Cystic Fibrosis patients:
  • Join a support group: Meeting and talking with others who have the disease, helps in coping with condition
  • Psychological counselling: Helps in coping with depression
  • Parents support: Provides encouragement to the child to fight the disease

Time for Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Cystic Fibrosis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Cystic Fibrosis.
Lung Transplantation
Oxygen Therapy
Pulmonary Rehabilitation

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