What is Cystic Fibrosis?
If your child keeps getting respiratory infections, is thin and weak looking, or has recurrent bouts of loose bowel, then he may have cystic fibrosis. It is a genetic disorder with no known cure, but knowing more about this disease will help you improve your loved one’s quality of life.
How do you get Cystic Fibrosis?
This disease is caused by a mutant gene; you cannot get sick by being exposed to someone with cystic fibrosis. The chromosomal defect results in production of abnormally thick mucus which causes symptoms in various organs.
How do I know my child has this?
The most common symptoms of cystic fibrosis are found in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
- Cystic fibrosis causes blockage of the airways, interfering with the expulsion of harmful inhaled bacteria. This causes recurrent congestion and respiratory infections.
- Obstruction of pancreatic ducts prevents its enzymes from reaching the intestines. The body cannot digest food properly resulting in poor weight gain, frequent oily stools and vitamin deficiencies.
- Other symptoms include exceedingly salty sweat and male infertility.
How do we cure cystic fibrosis?
Currently no cure has been found and many patients die young from lung failure. This doesn’t have to be the case as available treatment regimens can extend life expectancy to the fourth or even fifth decade.
How can we live with cystic fibrosis?
Effective therapy must be implemented early and stringently adhered to. To prevent lung failure, management concentrates on preventing or decreasing the impact of pulmonary disease. Effective treatment strategies include:
- Treatment of infection to reduce lung damage through antibiotics
- Improved clearance of abnormal mucus by physical therapy or inhaled medication
- Patients need also to take enzymes to digest food. Good nutrition along with vitamin supplements is very important for cystic fibrosis patients.
Disclaimer: This website provides general information about cystic fibrosis and in no means should be taken as a medical or health advice. Please consult your doctor before acting on any of its information.