Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 people worldwide. CF is caused by a recessive gene, which means that a child must inherit two copies of the defective CF gene—one from each parent—to have the disease. It is most common in Caucasians, but people of all races can have CF. Because of a defective gene and the protein it produces, the body makes unusually thick, sticky mucus. This mucus clogs the lungs and can lead to life-threatening lung infections. It also can affect the pancreas and block release of enzymes that help the body break down and absorb food. CF may affect other systems as well.
What is Cystic Fibrosis?