Frequently Asked Questions

What is cystic fibrosis?


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. In people with CF, a defective gene causes a thick, sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs.


Can adults be diagnosed with cystic fibrosis?


While cystic fibrosis is usually diagnosed in childhood, adults with no symptoms (or mild symptoms) during their youth can still be found to have the disease.


What causes cystic fibrosis?


Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition. Approximately, one person in 25 carries the faulty CF gene, usually without knowing it.


Is there a cure for cystic fibrosis?


Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition that does not yet have a cure.


How early can cystic fibrosis be diagnosed?


Patients with CF are typically diagnosed at birth, or in infancy due to symptoms of diarrhea and malnutrition.


What is the life expectancy with cystic fibrosis?


It is not possible to accurately predict how long a person who has CF will live. However, people with cystic fibrosis are living well into adulthood, leading healthy productive lives and having families of their own. New therapies are available and in development.


Can cystic fibrosis be treated?


While there is not yet a cure for cystic fibrosis, treatment can ease symptoms and reduce complications.


How often will I need to be treated?


Treatment for cystic fibrosis is done daily. This will allow you to stay as healthy as possible.


What are the goals of treatment?

  • Preventing and controlling infections that occur in the lungs
  • Removing and loosening mucus from the lungs
  • Treating and preventing intestinal blockage
  • Providing adequate nutrition

Could my child have cystic fibrosis?


If you and your partner are both carriers of cystic fibrosis, there is a 25 percent chance that your child could have cystic fibrosis even when there is no family history of the disease.


Could I have a child with cystic fibrosis even though I have other children who are healthy?


Yes. For parents who are both carriers, there is a 25 percent chance with each pregnancy that the child will have cystic fibrosis. Therefore, a child with cystic fibrosis may not be the firstborn.


Can I exercise with CF?


People with cystic fibrosis benefit from exercise. Speak with your health care team to determine your fitness level and to create a fitness plan that works for you.


Will I need to eat a special diet with cystic fibrosis?


A good cystic fibrosis diet is one that is high in calories and high in fat. Our dietitians can help you find the plan that works for you.