About This Condition
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that results in impaired transport of chloride into and out of cells. The digestive and respiratory systems are most affected.
The most common manifestation of cystic fibrosis is frequent respiratory infection. Impaired digestion and malabsorption due to pancreatic insufficiency and blocked liver ducts is often seen as well. Management of this condition requires the help of a qualified doctor.
Symptoms include a persistent cough with thick and often greenish-colored mucus, failure to grow normally, recurrent sinus and bronchial infections, and frequent, bulky, foul-smelling stools. Infants may experience a set of acute symptoms, including a distended abdomen, failure to pass stool, and vomiting. Although the course of the disease is highly variable, largely dependent upon the severity and frequency of respiratory infections, CF inevitably leads to debility and death. Average survival is to age 31.
Treatment typically includes a daily regimen of physical therapy that consists of pounding on the chest to loosen mucus.