In a healthy person, there is a constant flow of mucus over the surfaces of the air passages in the lungs. This removes debris and bacteria. Cystic fibrosis occurs when a defective gene causes the body to produce abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. CF is the most common inherited disease in white people, affecting about 1 in every 2,500 children born.
It is much rarer in people of African or Asian descent. About one in five babies with CF are diagnosed at birth. People with CF are at risk of bacterial chest infections. About half of people with CF have repeated chest infections and pneumonia. . Symptoms may vary from person to person because there are more than 1,000 mutations of the CF gene.
Some common symptoms include very salty-tasting skin, persistent coughing, at times with phlegm; wheezing or shortness of breath; an excessive appetite but poor weight gain; and greasy, bulky stools or constipation, abdominal pain.
Some other problems associated with CF can include: small growths in the nose, increased roundness of finger and toe nails, an enlarged liver and spleen, diabetes, infertility in men, fertility problems in women.
Other sources of information for these topics.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - Home
Provides information about the disease, treatment options, clinical trials, research, and public policy.
Internet community for cystic fibrosis patients, families and loved ones. Information on clinical trials, gene therapy, testing, associations, research and ...
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