Published: Jan. 25, 2012
Updated: Jan. 25, 2012
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs. This leads to frequent lung infections, difficulty with mucus clearance from the lungs, and bronchiectasis.
The defective gene in CF also causes obstruction of the pancreas which stops enzymes from reaching the digestive tract to assist with breaking down and digesting food.
The primary goals of physical therapy interventions are to assist with airway clearance and exercise. Different airway clearance techniques will assist in thinning the mucus, loosening it, and moving the mucus to larger airways where it can be spit out.
Exercise assists with maintaining clear airways, maintaining good mobility of the lungs and thoracic cavity, and trains the body to use oxygen more efficiently. Physical therapy intervention also addresses the secondary effects of difficulty breathing including decreased mobility in muscles and joints.