Cystic fibrosis is a disease that is inherited and is usually diagnosed in infants and young children. However there are mild cases that sometimes do not manifest until someone is a teen or young adult. This disease affects the lungs, the pancreas, the sinuses, the intestines, the liver, and sex organs. This disease affects both the mucus and the sweat glands. Cystic fibrosis makes the mucus very thick and sticky or tacky. There is still no cure for cystic fibrosis however treatment has improved in the past twenty years. Up until the 1980′s most children did not live to be teenagers with this disease, now people with CF can live to be in their 30′s.
Cystic fibrosis affects the mucus that lines a lot of the organs in the body. Mucus is normally a slick watery substance that lines organs and tubes in the body. Its purpose is to keep certain areas moist such as the airways to from your nose and mouth to your lungs. The mucus normally keeps them from getting dried out or from getting infected.
People that have cystic fibrosis have mucus is very thick and sticky so their mucus builds up in the lungs and in the airway passages that go to the lungs. This can cause repeated upper respiratory infections. Over a matter of time, this can cause a lot of damage to the lungs.
The mucus in the pancreas can block the ducts that lead from the pancreas to the small intestines. This can cause the enzymes that aid in digestion from being able to reach the food there. This can lead to food not being able to be metabolized properly. Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies can result due to this problem. Other issues such as abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, swelling in the abdomen and bulky stools.
Cystic fibrosis causes an increased amount of salt to be released from the sweat glands. This can cause problems such as dehydration due to the electrolyte imbalances. This imbalance is caused by the sodium or salt that is lost from the increased amounts of salt that is being released from the sweat glands. There can also be metabolic imbalances in the bloodstream which includes an abnormal amount of minerals in the blood. This can lead to a number of other health problems.
Children who have cystic fibrosis are at an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future due to having the pancreatic problems and the decreased production from the pancreas. They are also at an increased risk of having osteoporosis. Adults who have CF are at risk of other problems as well. Men who have cystic fibrosis are highly likely to be infertile while women have a much harder time of getting pregnant.
Treatment for cystic fibrosis includes using therapy that helps the person to cough more. This helps them to thin down and loosen up the mucus in the upper respiratory tract and in the lungs. Some of the treatment that is included is medication that is designed to thin the mucus in the breathing passages. Other treatment includes antibiotics to combat respiratory infections that frequently plague people who have CF. Medications may either be used as oral medications or may be inhaled or used by a nebulizer to help further loosen up secretions in the respiratory tract.
It is extremely important that anyone with cystic fibrosis pay special attention to their diet and eat a good diet while taking supplements to make sure that they get all the nutritional values that they need. Due to the fact that the pancreas is affected by this disease and many nutrients are not metabolized well, it is even more important that people with CF keep an eye out on their dietary needs and watch their diet extremely closely and do all they can to make sure they get the right amount of nutrients.