Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a progressive, lifelong condition in which the glands that produce mucus, sweat, and intestinal secretions do not function properly. Thick mucus accumulates in the lungs, leading to breathing difficulty and infection. CF also impairs digestion, and affected males are usually infertile.
The severity of symptoms varies. There is no cure for CF, but supportive treatments are available to help improve quality of life, and average life expectancy has increased over the years. While some babies with CF still die in infancy, many patients with CF live into their 20s and 30s.
Because Cystic Fibrosis affects all ethnic groups and is one of the most common recessive genetic diseases, screening is available to anyone planning a pregnancy.
Carrier detection rates are lower in some populations than in others because CF is associated with dozens of different gene mutations, not all of which are detectable by the standard panel.