Understanding your cystic fibrosis (CF) can help you become a more active participant in your health care, which can help you lead a fuller, healthier life. The following is an overview of what CF is and how it affects your body.
CF is a genetic, rare disease that affects about 30,000 people in the United States1. It typically affects the lungs, but can also affect other organs, such as the pancreas, liver and digestive system.
In a person without CF, a protein called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) allows the movement of salt and chloride through the membranes of the lungs, pancreas and other organs. People with CF have a change (mutation) in the gene that makes CFTR. As a result, chloride becomes trapped in cells. Without proper movement of chloride, water cannot hydrate the cell surface. This causes a build-up of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs and other organs.
In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways, causing infections and swelling (inflammation). In the digestive tract and pancreas, the mucus prevents enzymes from aiding in the digestion of food. CF can also cause a medical condition called cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD). This happens when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin to help control blood sugar, or when insulin doesn’t work the right way.
Symptoms for CF vary in range and severity from person to person. Symptoms you may experience include:
- Constant coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath
- High levels of salt in sweat; salty skin
- Good appetite but poor growth/weight gain
- Large, greasy bowel movements and long-lasting (chronic) diarrhea
- Nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis
- Chronic inflammation in the airways (bronchitis)
- Frequent lung infections
We’re here to help.
Your CVS Specialty CF CareTeam is made up of pharmacists and nurses who are specially trained in caring for CF. They can help you manage your CF so you can get the best results.
Your CF CareTeam is ready to:
- Answer all your questions
- Work with your doctor
- Provide your CF products, supplies and help to get started
- Assist with questions about insurance and billing
- Offer support and counseling on your CF and medication
- Arrange delivery of your medications2
Your CareTeam provides specialized support so you can focus more on living your life, not your CF. Call your CareTeam at 1-866-845-6790.