What is Cystic Fibrosis


Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the UK ‘s most common life-threatening inherited disease.

Cystic Fibrosis affects over 8,000 people in the UK .

Over two million people in the UK carry the faulty gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis – around 1 in 25 of the population.

If two carriers have a child, the baby has a one in four chance of having Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food.

Each week, five babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis.

Each week, three people lose their fight against Cystic Fibrosis.

Average life expectancy is around 31 years, although improvements in treatments mean a baby born today could expect to live for longer.

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis causes the body to produce thick secretions that particularly affect the lungs and digestive tract.

Symptoms of CF can include a troublesome cough, repeated chest infections, prolonged diarrhoea and poor weight gain. These symptoms are not unique to Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis affects a number of organs.

Lungs

It is common for people with CF to encounter some difficulties with their lungs. A combination of physiotherapy and medication can help control lung infections and prevent lung damage. To avoid the risk of cross-infection, it is recommended that people with CF do not come into close contact with others with Cystic Fibrosis.

Digestive system

Cystic Fibrosis affects the pancreas, which makes it difficult for people with CF to digest food. This can cause malnutrition, which can lead to poor growth, physical weakness and delayed puberty. There is medication that can compensate for the failure of the pancreas.

In older patients, insulin production can become deficient due to increasing pancreatic disease. Some develop CF related diabetes mellitus and their blood sugar levels are no longer controlled. This rarely happens to children with Cystic Fibrosis.

Common symptoms of diabetes include thirst, hunger, weight loss and excessive need to urinate, but some people do not show obvious symptoms of diabetes.