Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe.

In people with CF, a defective gene causes a thick, buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage, and eventually, respiratory failure. In the pancreas, the mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes that allow the body to break down food and absorb vital nutrients.  There is no cure for CF and the disease generally gets worse over time.  However, thanks to screening and new treatments, people with cystic fibrosis can live into their 40s and longer. 

In the United States:

  • About 30,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis (70,000 worldwide).
  • Approximately 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year.
  • More than 90 percent of people with CF are diagnosed by the time they turn one year old.
  • Nearly half of the CF population is age 18 or older. 

The Cystic Fibrosis Center at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has the largest program of its kind in the state, offering a multidisciplinary approach for complete care.

Our program is accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) and includes 11 pediatric pulmonary faculty caring for 270 children.  Led by Dr. Samya Nasr, the U-M Cystic Fibrosis Center participates in numerous research studies investigating the latest treatments for CF, focusing on adherence, new therapies, and nutritional health.  

Cystic fibrosis symptoms

  • Breathing problems, persistent coughing and/or wheezing
  • Frequent lung infections including pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Chronic Sinus Infections
  • Salty tasting skin
  • Poor growth or weight gain in spite of a good appetite
  • Frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty with bowel movements
  • No bowel movements due to an internal blockage in newborns
  • Male infertility

Cystic fibrosis treatment

Early diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan are the keys to ensuring the best quality of life for people with cystic fibrosis. Daily treatments are required to stay as healthy as possible. The University of Michigan CF Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to individualize treatment plans and participates in cutting edge clinical trials and research to identify new ways to treat CF.  

Learn more about the Michigan Difference in cystic fibrosis care.

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment to discuss cystic fibrosis care at U-M, call us at 734-764-4123.