Skip to content

    Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

    Font Size

    Cystic Fibrosis

    What Is Cystic Fibrosis?

    Cystic fibrosis is a disease that changes how your body makes mucus and sweat. It affects how well your lungs, digestive system, and some other body parts work. It’s caused by a flawed gene.

    If you have cystic fibrosis, you may have mucus that’s too thick or sweat that’s too salty. If heavy mucus clogs your lungs, it’s hard to breathe. It can also block your pancreas, an organ in your belly, so you can’t digest your food as well. The disease may make you sweat away too much of the salt your body needs to work well.

    Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems

    Pulmonary Edema: Know the Signs and Get the Facts

    Pulmonary edema means you have fluid building up in your lungs. That can make it hard for you to breathe. Normally when you take a breath, your lungs fill with air. If you have pulmonary edema, they fill with fluid instead. When that happens, oxygen from the air can’t get from the lungs into the blood where it’s needed. When it comes on suddenly it's called acute pulmonary edema, and can it be life threatening. If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 right away: Sudden shortness of breath ...

    Read the Pulmonary Edema: Know the Signs and Get the Facts article > >

    Most people diagnosed with cystic fibrosis today are babies, thanks to newborn screening programs. More than 75% of children with cystic fibrosis get a diagnosis by age 2. In some cases, people don’t find out they have cystic fibrosis until they’re teens or adults. Parents can also test their babies for cystic fibrosis before they’re born.

    Cystic fibrosis is a serious disease that can be life-threatening. But it’s different for everyone. Symptoms are mild for some people and severe for others. The good news is that most people with cystic fibrosis now live twice as long as they did 30 years ago. Today, some people are living into their 40s, 50s, or longer.

    The key is to get treatment as early as possible. Right now, there are many ways to ease symptoms and help you manage the condition.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    You may not even know you have it.
    blood clot
    Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
    man coughing
    When a cold becomes bronchitis.
    human lungs
    Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.

    chest x-ray
    Bronchitis Overview
    Copd Myth Fact Quiz
    Energy Boosting Foods

    woman coughing
    Lung xray and caduceus