What is cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease caused by a faulty gene. This gene controls the movement of salt and water in and out of your cells, so the lungs and digestive system become clogged with mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food.

A woman with a female nurse

More than 2.5 million people in the UK carry the faulty gene, around one in 25 of the population.

There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis but many treatments are available to manage it, including physiotherapy, exercise, medication and nutrition.

Each week five babies are born with cystic fibrosis, and two people die.

More than half of the cystic fibrosis population in the UK will live past 41, and improved care and treatments mean that a baby born today is expected to live even longer.

Find out more about what causes cystic fibrosis, how cystic fibrosis is diagnosed and the symptoms of the disease.

You can also read about the history of cystic fibrosis.

  • A little boy on a ventilator

    Driving up standards

    We are committed to a greater quality of medical care

    Learn more
  • Mother and baby


    Share news and stories with our online community

    Join the conversation
  • A female holding a pen and notebook


    Do you need advice, information or support?

    We can help