Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a very serious genetic disease that affects lungs, liver, intestines and pancreas. It is caused by a mutation of the CFTR gene during fetal development. The result of the mutation is that the secretion glands do not function normally and they produce a copious amount of sweat, mucus and other bodily secretions in the lungs and digestive tract that can be life-threatening. There is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis. The only medical treatments that can be done for it are the ones that are aimed at relieving the symptoms. The symptoms for CF are very serious and can be fatal if left untreated. Severe respiratory failure can occur and the individual with CF has trouble with the secretions blocking digestive enzymes that break up and digest fat and proteins. This can you to a serious lack of nutrition.
Even with new advances in medical care and treatments, a person who is born with Cystic Fibrosis can only expect to live until their 30s and 40s. Because people who have CF can suffer from serious lung and digestive problems, treatments are aimed to help relieve these complications. Bronchodilators and mechanical vibrators are used to keep the lungs clear. Enzymes and certain vitamins are given to keep the digestive tract working normally.
CF is a very difficult disease to treat. The goal of Cystic Fibrosis treatment is to prevent infections and diminish the thickness of secretions and the amount of mucus that accumulates in the lungs as well as to insure proper nutrition and calorie absorption.
Cystic fibrosis treatment includes the use of antibiotics to fight off lung infections. Aerosol antibiotics are available now that can be used to send antibiotic medication directly into the airways to help the patient breathe easier. The prolonged use of antibiotics has a major drawback however. Over time bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics. Fungal infections, that are resistant to antibiotics, can infect the respiratory tract, throat and mouth also.
Bronchial airway drainage is also used as a Cystic Fibrosis treatment. This is a process that removes the thick mucous from the lungs by using an electric chest slapper. It can also be done by manually pressing on the chest and back to help expel the mucous that is trapped in the lungs.
Bronchodilators and inhalers are used to treat bronchial tubes that are blocked by mucous. These bronchodilators contain certain medications like albuterol that help clear the bronchial tubes.
Certain medications that can thin the mucus are also used to treat cystic fibrosis symptoms. Dornase Alfa is a mucous thinning aerosolized drug that can make the mucus much easier to pass through the bronchial tubes.
One major cystic fibrosis treatment is to optimize the patient’s nutrition. Oral enzyme supplements should be taken. These enzymes can help the body to absorb the vital nutrients that it needs to maintain health. These are needed because the enzymes that the pancreas produces do not reach the small intestines. Certain fat-soluble vitamins should also be taken on a daily basis.
The doctor may also prescribe medications like Motrin or other ibuprofen medications to help prevent the deterioration of the lungs in children who have CF. these are anti-inflammatory drugs.
The most extreme Cystic Fibrosis treatment is lung transplantation. If the patient has become extremely resistant to antibiotics and a life-threatening infection can not be cleared up, the decision to do a lung transplant may become necessary. The doctor will only consider doing a lung transplant if there is a life-threatening pulmonary condition that no other type of treatment can relieve. Whether or not the patient is a suitable candidate for a lung transplant will depend on various factors that the doctor must carefully evaluate before making this recommendation. Major research is now being done to discover new and innovative cystic fibrosis treatments that can provide better alternatives and to extend the life of people who have CF.
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