Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder resulting from a gene mutation (a flaw in a gene). Cystic fibrosis can have severe complications, but ways to manage the disease have improved greatly over the past few decades.

Overview and Symptoms

You may experience the following symptoms of CF.

  • Wheezing
  • A productive cough that never goes away
  • Infections that recur over and over
  • Constipation, diarrhea, and/or digestive problems
  • Not growing enough nor gaining enough weight despite eating

Neonates are screened for cystic fibrosis in all the US states now, typically with a blood test. Cystic fibrosis can be tested in three ways: with a blood test, a genetic screen, or a sweat chloride test. People with CF have much more salt (sodium chloride) in their sweat than people without CF. The sweat chloride test measures the amount of chloride in your sweat. If the test finds an abnormally high level of chloride, you may be diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Treatment

Treatment for cystic fibrosis can include:

  • Airway clearance techniques - specific breathing techniques that help clear the lungs
  • Gene therapy – therapies that aim to correct the function of the defective gene that causes CF
  • Medications – for some, medications can help keep lungs clear, prevent infections or even correct the underlying causes of CF.
  • Lung transplantation – this major procedure can significantly improve the quality of your life.

Learn More

The Chest Disease Center combines a team of highly skilled specialists with state-of-the-art facilities to provide multidisciplinary evaluation, treatment and care to patients who have benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) lung diseases.

Visit the Chest Disease Center