Health Guide
Drug Guide

Cystic fibrosis

What is it?


CF is a genetic disease. One in 29 Americans is a carrier of CF, which means they have the CF gene. Genes are pieces of code that are responsible for telling cells how to grow. For example, your genes "told" your body to grow your color hair, and your eye color. A person must get a CF gene from both parents to develop the disease. You cannot "catch" CF from someone with CF.

Signs and Symptoms:

CF affects each person differently. It may be found in babies because of digestive problems, obstruction (blockage) of the intestine, or breathing problems. CF may not be found in some people until later in life, if they have a milder case of the disease. You may have salty-tasting skin, a long-term cough, pneumonia (new-MOAN-yuh), or wheezing. Wheezing is the loud noise heard when you breathe in or out. You may have problems with nutrition and gaining weight, even though you eat a lot. You may get many lung infections. Some other signs of CF that may develop over time are:

Medical Care:

There is no cure for CF. Treatment for CF depends upon what stage the disease is in and what organs are affected. Antibiotics are used to treat lung infections. Digestive enzymes are used to improve digestion. Medicine that thins the thickened airway secretions may be needed. You may need to go into the hospital for more care. You may have any of the following tests or treatments.

Dietary Measures:

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.


Complementary Therapies:

Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

Talk to your caregiver if:


Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


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Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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