Cystic Fibrosis

Have you not heard of cystic fibrosis before? It is a hereditary disease (affecting the entire body) that goes on to cause early death and/or progressive disability.

Symptoms

Insufficient enzyme production in the pancreas and difficulty in breathing are the commonest of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Other symptoms of the disease include poor growth, sinus infections, potential infertility (prevalent among males) and diarrhea. In short, cystic fibrosis can cause great damage to you.

Symptoms differ from person to person and include no bowel movements in the initial 24 or 48 hours, salty skin in infants and clay or pale colored foul smelling or floating stools. The patient also experiences wheezing or coughing, fatigue and respiratory infections.

Remember, low immune system and thick mucous production causes frequent lung infections, which may be treated but not cured always.

Causes

Cystic fibrosis is caused when the protein responsible for the normal movement of salt in and out of the cells is altered by a defective gene. The instant outcome is the sticky secretions in the digestive and respiratory tracts. The skin too becomes salty.

If two people carry the defective gene and go on to conceive a baby. The baby has 25% chances of having cystic fibrosis, 25% chances of not having the disease and neither being a carrier of the disease and 50% chances of carrying the cystic fibrosis gene.

Cystic fibrosis can also be caused due to the imbalance of the essential fatty acids. The patients usually have high levels of the arachidonic acid and deficiency of the docosahehexaenoic acid.

How Widespread Is The Disease?

Out of 2500 children, every 1 child suffers from cystic fibrosis. The disease is quite common among the Ashkenazi Jews and the Europeans. Among 22 people of the European descent (more so of Northern European ancestry), at least 1 carries one gene for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) making it a common genetic disease. The Asian Americans and the blacks in the United States also have fairly good chances of getting the disease.

The Cure

The ones suffering from the disease are very unfortunate, as there is no cure for cystic fibrosis. It is sad that a youngster suffering from the disease is sure to die young from lung failure. There is hardly any hope.

Nevertheless, with the introduction of the new treatments, the life expectancy is definitely increasing. When a patient's condition seriously deteriorates, lung transplantation becomes necessary.

Therefore, one must not delay and go to the doctor immediately for treatment, if lung or digestive disorders are noticed.

Precautions For Protecting A Child From The Disease

The immunizations of the child should be up-to-date.
Regular exercising should be encouraged.
Washing hands before eating is important and should be always maintained. One should make it a habit to have clean hands.
The child should be given a healthy diet.
The child should drink enough liquids to loosen the mucus.
One should keep the child away from smoke.
The child also needs nutritional supplements.

Cystic fibrosis is a fatal disease but one can do his/her own bit to keep it at bay.

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