What Is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited, progressive disease that affects the lungs, sinuses, digestive and reproductive systems and sweat glands. People with CF have an abnormality in the function of a cell protein called Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator (CFTR). People who inherit two abnormal copies of the gene that encodes this protein have abnormal production of mucus, sweat and digestive secretions. Normally these secretions are thin and aid the body’s functioning, but for people who have CF, the secretions are too thick and sticky for the body to process and as a result it plugs up airways, ducts and passageways, causing damage to the affected organs.
You can only get CF if you inherit two CF genes, one from your mother and one from your father. A person who has only one CF gene is healthy, but as a carrier, you have an increased chance of having a child with CF. Testing is available at University Health.
Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis
- Salty-tasting skin
- Persistent Coughing that produces think mucus
- Repeated sinus, ear and lung infections
- Shortness of breath
- Poor weight gain
- Foul-smelling, greasy stools
- Intestinal blockage
- Severe constipation
When Is it Time to See a Doctor?
If you or a family member have a combination of these symptoms, follow-up with your doctor or make an appointment at our Cystic Fibrosis Center for appropriate testing and treatments if necessary.
Adults diagnosed with cystic fibrosis are more likely to demonstrate symptoms outside the more quickly recognized signs. They may have multiple episodes of pancreatitis, infertility issues, and be prone to getting pneumonia.
Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program
The Cystic Fibrosis Center at University Health provides specialized care for adults and children with cystic fibrosis ranging from treatment of lung disease, to other complications such as diabetes, pancreas dysfunction, sinus infections, on to lung transplantation, if needed. Our partnership with UT Health San Antonio gives you the comfort and knowledge that you’re receiving attention and care from doctors who pursue and have access to the most up-to-date technology and the most current treatments options for fighting lung disease.
Our internationally recognized pulmonary treatment program features:
- Adult and pediatric cystic fibrosis programs acknowledged and accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- Lung treatments not offered at many other hospitals
- One of the best lung transplant programs in the world, expertly delivering shorter wait times
As recognized leaders in lung care, our team treats hundreds of patients every year for pulmonary conditions, including allergies, asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, sleep disorders and pneumonia.
- Nurse coordinator
- Physical therapist
- Respiratory therapist
- Social worker
Cystic Fibrosis Care for All Ages
We are committed to providing superior healthcare for adults diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Our cystic fibrosis center actively provides a comprehensive approach to care through individual attention and specialized treatments designed to meet your unique medical needs.
We do this through:
- A team of medical experts working together to develop a personalized treatment plan
- Pulmonology and endocrinology services conveniently available during same visit (great for travelers)
- Seamless access to the lung transplant program
- Access to the latest clinical trials offering treatments not available anywhere else in South Texas
- Medical professionals who make research a priority, constantly striving to deliver better therapies
Our adult cystic fibrosis program is located in the same center as our pediatric program resulting in a smooth treatment transition – we know our patients well.
We help adjust and improve your treatment options through a well-structured plan developed for each and every patient. A circle of care surrounds the patient to address many issues beyond medical concerns. Physicians work closely with other care team members to maximize your comfort and care.
Our outcomes are among the best in the nation. But thinking beyond that, we treat the whole person and our discussions often include support for big life decisions. Our team works collaboratively to encourage you to move forward towards exciting milestones, such as: beginning your career, getting married, or discussions about the possibility of starting a family.
What Is the Life Expectancy for Cystic Fibrosis?
Recent advancements in clinical care, as a result of research and clinical trials, have helped people with CF live productive, full lives into their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. Treatment for CF takes place in multiple settings, including the clinic, hospital and home. Our clinical team is constantly keeping up with the latest therapies and continually showing our patients how to do some of the therapies away from the hospital, in the convenience of their own homes.