What is cystic fibrosis? — Cystic fibrosis is a disease that some children are born with. It causes thick mucus and other fluids to build up and clog different parts of the body, including the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestine (figure 1).
The thick mucus in the lungs causes people with cystic fibrosis to get frequent lung infections. Over time, these infections damage the lungs. The thick fluids in the pancreas and liver keep the intestine from absorbing certain nutrients from food. This affects a child's growth and causes abnormal bowel movements.
Cystic fibrosis is caused by an abnormal gene. To get the disease, people need to get the abnormal gene from both their mother and father. If people get the abnormal gene from only 1 parent, they will not have cystic fibrosis. But they will have a chance of passing on the abnormal gene to their children.
Cystic fibrosis is a lifelong condition. As of now, doctors can't cure the disease, but they can use different treatments to help with symptoms.
Disease information obtained from: Lexicomp.com Cystic Fibrosis (Patient Education - Disease and Procedure)
To learn more about cystic fibrosis, talk with your child's doctor or nurse. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation also has a lot of information. Their website is www.cff.org. Their toll-free phone number in the US is 1-800-344-4823.