Cystic fibrosis is an inherited genetic disease caused by a faulty gene. These genes control the movement of salt and water in and out of your cells, resulting in the lungs and digestive system becoming clogged with mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food.
Each of the thousands of genes in the body has 2 copies. For CF to occur, both copies of the CF gene (CFTR) need to be faulty. Each parent of a child with CF will have one faulty copy of the gene and one normal copy; having one normal copy is enough to stay healthy. Each parent passes on one copy of each of their CF genes
This means that there is a 1 in 4 chance of both faulty genes being passed on to their children.
Symptoms of cystic fibrosis can include a troublesome cough, chest infections, prolonged diarrhoea and poor weight gain. These symptoms are not unique to cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a complex disease that affects many different organs.
There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis but many treatments are available to manage it, including physiotherapy, exercise, medication and nutrition.
More than half of the cystic fibrosis population in the UK will live past 41, and improved care and treatments mean that a baby born today is expected to live even longer.