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Cystic Fibrosis

Also indexed as:CF
Get support for cystic fibrosis by focusing on overall fitness and your unique nutritional needs. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Cystic Fibrosis: Main Image

About This Condition

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that results in impaired transport of chloride into and out of cells. The digestive and respiratory systems are most affected.

The most common manifestation of cystic fibrosis is frequent respiratory infection. Impaired digestion and malabsorption due to pancreatic insufficiency and blocked liver ducts is often seen as well. Management of this condition requires the help of a qualified doctor.


Symptoms include a persistent cough with thick and often greenish-colored mucus, failure to grow normally, recurrent sinus and bronchial infections, and frequent, bulky, foul-smelling stools. Infants may experience a set of acute symptoms, including a distended abdomen, failure to pass stool, and vomiting. Although the course of the disease is highly variable, largely dependent upon the severity and frequency of respiratory infections, CF inevitably leads to debility and death. Average survival is to age 31.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Aerobic exercise appears to improve lung function in people with CF. In a three-year controlled trial, people with CF engaged in a home exercise program, during which they exercised for a minimum of 20 minutes, three times weekly, and attained a heart rate of approximately 150 beats per minute. A slower decline in lung function was observed in these people compared with non-exercisers.1 Those who exercised also tended to feel better about themselves, had more energy, and/or experienced less chest congestion.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.

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