Learn about cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, and how to treat and live with this chronic disease.
CF is a rare genetic disease found in about 30,000 people in the U.S. If you have CF or are considering testing for it, knowing about the role of genetics in CF can help you make informed decisions about your health care.
If you or your child has just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, or your doctor has recommended testing for CF, you may have many questions.
Diagnosing CF is a multistep process. A complete diagnostic evaluation should include a newborn screening, a sweat chloride test, a genetic or carrier test, and a clinical evaluation at a CF Foundation-accredited care center.
Raising a child with cystic fibrosis can bring up many questions because CF affects many aspects of your child’s life. Here you’ll find resources to help you manage your child’s daily needs and find the best possible CF care.
Living with cystic fibrosis comes with many challenges, including medical, social, and financial. By learning more about how you can manage your disease every day, you can ultimately help find a balance between your busy lifestyle and your CF care.
People with CF are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. As an adult with CF, you may reach key milestones you might not have considered. Planning for these life events requires careful thought as you make decisions that may impact your life.
People with cystic fibrosis are living longer and more fulfilling lives, thanks in part to specialized CF care and a range of treatment options.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited care centers provide expert care and specialized disease management to people living with cystic fibrosis.
We provide funding for and accredit more than 120 care centers and 53 affiliate programs nationwide. The high quality of specialized care available throughout the care center network has led to the improved length and quality of life for people with CF.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation provides standard care guidelines based on the latest research, medical evidence, and consultation with experts on best practices.
As a clinician, you’re critical in helping people with CF maintain their quality of life. We’re committed to helping you partner with patients and their families by providing resources you can use to improve and continue to provide high-quality care.
As part of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's mission to help improve the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis, the PSDC initiative taps the CF community to inform key efforts to support the management of daily care.
Your cystic fibrosis care team includes a group of CF health care professionals who partner with you to provide specialized, comprehensive CF care.
Many cystic fibrosis patients and families face complicated issues related to getting the care they need. But CF Foundation Compass makes sure that no one has to do it alone.
For many people with cystic fibrosis, dealing with insurance is as much a part of living with the disease as nebulizers and vests. Many people with CF and their families face issues related to getting the care they need, but no one has to do it alone.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for CF and supports a broad range of research initiatives to tackle the disease from all angles.
The CF Foundation offers a number of resources for learning about clinical trials and treatments that are being developed to improve the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Our understanding of CF continues to evolve as scientists study what causes the disease and how it affects the body. These insights drive the development of new and better treatments and bring us one step closer to a cure.
Researchers, supported by the CF Foundation, have made tremendous advances to improve the health and quality of life of people with CF. We are committed to providing the tools and resources you need to continuously build upon this work.
For most of my 30 years, my life has been on the same path as my peers'. But suddenly, things feel different.
October 5, 2015
Managing School From a Hospital Room
The other night I got in bed around 11 p.m. to read until I fell asleep, which I hoped would be soon as I was anticipating a 6 a.m. wake-up call for my first round of treatments before work. Just as I lay my head down after closing my book, a cough bubbled up in my throat, as if my lungs knew I was about to go to sleep. I spent the next two hours sitting up in bed coughing up mucus, getting more and more anxious as each minute passed and my hours of sleep dwindled.
Somewhere around 2 a.m. I finally drifted off, with only four hours between me and the start of the day knowing that this would follow: I'll wake up, drag myself downstairs, spend at least an hour doing my
treatments and then get ready for the day. I'll arrive at my office at 9 a.m., coffee in hand, make-up on, and no one will know what my night actually looked like.
It is in these moments -- when cystic fibrosis tries to get the best of me -- that I feel most alone.
For most of my 30 years, my life has been on the same path as my peers'. I graduated from high school, and then went away to college where I did college things like go to parties and join a sorority. After college I got a job, moved into my own apartment and started my adult life. I got married and bought a house. All the things my friends were doing, too.
But suddenly things feel different. Friends are advancing in their careers, starting families and planning their futures. And I'm not sure I'll be able to do any of those things.
Instead, I worry about why my cough has increased, what my next sputum culture will show and how I'll be able to make it through the day on four hours of sleep.
I spend my days doing treatments, going to work, doing more treatments, getting some (restless) sleep, only to wake up and do it all over again. I'm often tired, and constantly coughing or congested.
And that's just the physical stuff.
Emotionally, I struggle not to feel like I'm suffocating from the unending sadness that comes with having a life-shortening illness. I struggle to feel joy for my friends and their milestones. I struggle to relate to almost anyone. And that is so very lonely.
Isolation, according to the all-knowing Merriam-Webster, is “the state of being in a place or situation that is separate from others.”
And that's a pretty good definition of how I have felt as I've entered my 30s. To live a life, day in and day out, that few people understand is hard -- especially when us CFers look mostly healthy on the outside but often feel a lot worse on the inside.
Connecting with the CF community online has been an immense help in fighting this loneliness. It will never be a substitute for a real hug or a coffee date, but it helps make us all feel a little less alone, a little less misunderstood and a little less like we're in this by ourselves.
Adult with CF
Katharine was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of 16. A graduate of Denison University with a degree in English, she now has a successful career in communications. As a CF advocate, Katharine speaks at events sharing her story, serves on the CF Foundation’s Adult Advisory Council and is a board member for the Maryland CFF chapter. For her efforts as an advocate and fundraiser, Katharine was named one of the “Top 10 to Watch Under 30” by the Baltimore Sun and a Maryland’s Finest honoree. In her free time, Katharine enjoys reading, traveling with her husband Mike and eating locally. You can find Katharine at From A to Pink and The Bookly Club. Follow @katharinescriv on Twitter and @katharinescriv on Instagram.
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This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. It is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.
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