Cystic Fibrosis: What You Need to Know

Cystic Fibrosis affects about 30,000 people in the U.S. It's an inherited disease that causes the body to produce abnormally thick and sticky mucus. What this mucus does is block the passages in the lungs and pancreas. Over time, it can cause life-threatening damage and severe digestion problems. Symptoms usually start during childhood with repeated lung or sinus infections. Other symptoms include: chronic cough, fatigue, wheezing, constipation, salty-tasting skin, poor growth and greasy stools. 

Most children are diagnosed by the age of 2 and experience this fairly heavily until they reach adulthood. 


Lung problems worse until the patient becomes disabled. Life expectancy for this condition is 40+ years and have steadily improved. Early diagnosis and treatment are of course extremely important and help with quality and length of life. Treatments for cystic fibrosis include medications, therapy to loosen lung mucus and surgery risk factors.

Those who have cystic fibrosis in their family are at a higher risk. 

Treatment for cystic fibrosis may include:


  • Antibiotics
  • Medications to thin mucus
  • Bronchodilators
  • Oxygen
  • Therapy to loosen lung mucus
  • Surgery

Self Care

You can reduce your risk of complications from CF by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Getting yearly flu and pneumonia vaccines
  • Getting regular exercise

Call your doctor if you or your child has any symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Seek emergency medical care right away if you or your child has trouble breathing. Generally, your physician will take evaluate the child's medical history and perform a full physical exam. Blood tests, lung function test, CT scan and X-rays may also be ordered.