It is a common belief that cystic fibrosis can run in the family, but according to the Mayo Clinic, you may not have to worry that much if one of your relatives discovers they have the disease.
Cystic fibrosis affects the lungs and causes mucus, sweat and other digestive substances to be thick and sticky when they are usually supposed to be thin and slippery, according to an article written by Dr. Julie Baughn, a pediatric pulmonologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The disease can cause a chronic cough, pneumonia, greasy stools and stunted growth.
The disease can run in your family and it is passed down from parent to child. But if a relative has cystic fibrosis, you may still be in the clear, the article said.
"Because of the way cystic fibrosis is passed from parents to children, one member of an extended family may be affected, while many others are not," Baugh said in the article.
Baugh said that without any symptoms of the cystic fibrosis, you may have nothing to worry about. But it never hurts to get tested for the disease, especially since it's pretty simple.
"The screening involves checking a blood sample for elevated levels of a chemical called immunoreactive trypsinogen," Baughn said in the aticle. "Because cystic fibrosis is not the only reason the level of this chemical may be high, if the results of the screening are positive, more testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis. Health care providers also may recommend genetic tests to identify specific defects on the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis."