Cystic Fibrosis

Rosie in a blue dress

Photo courtesy of Rosie and her family

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For healthcare providers: Additional clinical information

What is Cystic Fibrosis (CF)?

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited, chronic condition that affects many of the body’s systems, especially the lungs and digestion. About 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. have CF. It is most often diagnosed at birth through newborn screening, or before age 2. However, some people with CF have even been diagnosed in their twenties or older. With recent advances in treatment and the right supports, children with CF can be part of regular school programs and activities from preschool to college and beyond.

What are the effects of CF?

CF affects each child differently and in varying degrees. Because CF is a progressive condition, the effects may change over time, relatively healthy children with CF may face more challenges as they enter middle or high school. It is important to understand the condition and how it may uniquely affect each child.

CF produces thick, sticky mucus that can clog the lungs and pancreas. This can cause respiratory problems and make breathing difficult. It can also lead to digestive problems.

CF is not contagious. It does not affect cognitive ability. However, most children with CF may have a number of symptoms that require special planning for success in school and life.

Learn more about physical characteristics and/or symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis.

This information was last updated in May 2022.