The gene affected by CF controls the movement of salt and water in and out of cells. People with cystic fibrosis experience a build-up of thick sticky mucus in the lungs, digestive system and other organs, causing a wide range of challenging symptoms affecting the entire body. Read on for more details and links to relevant information, watch our 'What is CF, exactly?' video below or examine our fantastic interactive body!
To have CF, you need to have inherited two faulty copies of the gene (one from each parent), and as there are many different gene mutations that cause cystic fibrosis, each person with the condition can have very different symptoms depending on the two genes they carry.
How is cystic fibrosis diagnosed?
Cystic fibrosis can be diagnosed during newborn screening, which is carried out as part of the heel-prick test that all babies in the UK receive, and positives are followed up using a sweat test. If someone has a history of CF in their family, a partner with CF, or a child with the condition, they may choose to get carrier testing to see if they carry the faulty gene that can cause it, which only requires a simple mouthwash or blood test.
There are also ways to test for CF during pregnancy, which carry some risks and is only usually carried out in pregnancies with a high chance of cystic fibrosis. We have factsheets and information about all this and more, or you can find out about the many ways that CF affects the body.
How is cystic fibrosis treated?
It is vital that people with CF receive appropriate healthcare, enabling them to live longer, healthier lives. That treatment can take many different forms! Find out how medication, physiotherapy,nutrition and exercise all play their part. We also have information about transplants, specialist care and much more.
How cystic fibrosis affects the body
Cystic fibrosis causes the body to produce thick mucus, which can have a wide range of effects. Everyone with CF will have a slightly different variety and severity of symptoms. Take a look at ourinteractive body to find out more and explore how CF affects the lungs and digestive system, and about the other complications it can cause.
What are the causes of cystic fibrosis?
People have CF because they have inherited a faulty gene from both of their parents. Find out more about the CF gene, genotypes and the different mutations that people with CF have.