Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that primarily affects the lungs, but can also affect the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestines. CF is one of the most common diseases passed on from parent to child. Because CF is recessive, someone diagnosed with CF would have to receive the gene from each parent. People born with only a single CF gene are called carriers, and do not have the disease. The gene for CF also contains mutations, more than 17,000 in fact. Genetic testing can help to screen for common CF mutations, but not all of them.
There are over 30,000 patients with CF in the United States, and more than 70,000 worldwide. Approximately 1,000 new diagnoses of CF occur each year, and over 75% of patients are diagnosed by the age of 2. Many different factors, such as age of diagnosis, can affect an individual’s health and the course of the disease. At the center of any treatment is combatting the sticky mucous produced by CF patients. There are a number of different treatments available. Advances in CF treatments have made it possible for patients to live healthy, vibrant lives.
What are possible symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis?
Patients may have some or all of the following symptoms to various degrees:
- Poor growth
- Fatty stool
- Clubbing of the fingers and toes
- Infertility (male patients)
- Very salty-tasting skin
- Persistent coughing, at times with phlegm
- Frequent lung infections including sinus infections, pneumonia, or bronchitis
- Wheezing or shortness of breath