Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects approximately 1 in 2,500 babies. The symptoms of cystic fibrosis will vary from patient to patient, and depend on the severity of the disease and the mutation of the faulty genes, but there are commonalities in the way that CF affects the body according to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Typically the lungs are the most affected part of the body where cystic fibrosis is concerned. Everyone has a lining of mucus inside their lungs, which is essential for catching unwanted debris that is inhaled, like dust or bacteria. This mucus is then expelled naturally. However, in cystic fibrosis patients, this lining of mucus is much thicker and stickier, which means that it is more difficult to dislodge. Because the mucus is harder to get rid of, cystic fibrosis patients are at a higher risk of lung infections.
In addition, the mucus becomes thicker and starts to block the movement of air in the lungs, making it much more difficult for people with CF to breathe and get the right amount of oxygen they need flowing into the blood stream.
Airway clearance techniques are used to help loosen mucus and allow patients to breathe easier and lessen the risk of infections.