What Is Cystic Fibrosis (CF)?

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects multiple organ systems with the most severe complications resulting from lung and gastrointestinal involvement. In the United States, nearly 30,000 children and adults are affected by the disease. CF is caused by a defective gene and its protein product that causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs (leading to life-threatening lung infections), and obstructs the pancreas (which prevents natural enzymes from breaking down and absorbing food). 


In the 1950’s, most children with CF did not survive to attend elementary school; however through recent advances in therapies and patient centered care, the average lifespan of a CF patient in the US is 42 years.