We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Involved in Making a Diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis?

M.C. Huguelet
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder which causes bodily secretions such as mucus and digestive fluid to be sticky and thick. Since these thick secretions are not easily vacated by the body, they build up in the organs, causing such complications as chronic lung infections and lung damage as well as poor nutrient absorption. An early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis followed by ongoing treatment can significantly improve the life expectancy of an individual with the condition. Making a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis usually involves a combination of blood and sweat tests and, in some cases, genetic testing. Advances in genetic testing now allow cystic fibrosis to be identified even in unborn babies.

In some countries, such as the United States, every newborn is screened for cystic fibrosis via blood test shortly after birth. After a blood sample has been taken, it is examined for evidence of a digestive chemical called immunoreactive trypsinogen (IRT), which is normally present in high concentrations in the blood of cystic fibrosis sufferers. If a high IRT concentration is detected, further testing is usually performed to confirm a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.

Among newborns whose blood shows a high IRT concentration, a sweat test is often used to confirm a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. The genetic defect which causes this condition inhibits the body’s ability to transport salt in and out of the cells. As a result, those with cystic fibrosis tend to have very salty sweat. During a sweat test, a patch of skin is rubbed with a chemical that stimulates sweating, and the sweat produced is then absorbed with a strip of paper. If the paper shows that the sweat contains a large amount of salt, a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis may be made.

Should the results of a sweat test prove inconclusive, physicians may recommend genetic testing to verify a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. During genetic cystic fibrosis testing, a blood sample is drawn and then sent to a laboratory, where the genes found within it are studied for evidence of the defect which causes the disorder. In addition to being used to confirm cystic fibrosis following ambiguous sweat test results, genetic testing may also be performed on unborn babies who have a heightened risk of the condition. Babies considered to be at high risk for developing the condition are those whose parents are both carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
M.C. Huguelet
By M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide range of publications, including WiseGeek. With degrees in Writing and English, she brings a unique perspective and a commitment to clean, precise copy that resonates with readers. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.