Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common life threatening genetic disorder amongst Caucasians. It primarily affects the respiratory system (lungs), the digestive system (pancreas and sometimes liver) and the reproductive system. When a person has CF their mucus glands secrete very thick sticky mucus. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the tiny air passages and traps bacteria. Repeated infections and blockages can cause irreversible lung damage and a shortened life. The pancreas is also affected, preventing the release of enzymes needed to digest food. This means that people with CF can have problems with nutrition and must consume a diet high in kilojoules, fats, sugar and salts.
Last updated: 2 February, 2011