Cystic fibrosis diagnosis

Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary condition that affects the secretory glands. The mucus and sweat production glands are both affected by cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is genetically acquired when there are two improper CF genes. One faulty CF gene is given from each parent. In most cases the parents do not actually have the cystic fibrosis condition.

What Does Cystic Fibrosis Affect?
Cystic fibrosis affects many different parts of the body including the pancreas, intestines, lungs, and liver. It can also affect the sex organs, sinuses, and other areas but these parts of the body are less commonly affected by cystic fibrosis. The affects of cystic fibrosis are usually prominent within the first few months after birth. However, in many cases the condition is not actually diagnosed successfully until the individual reaches his or her adult years.

It is important that any individual with symptoms of cystic fibrosis make an immediate effort to get a professional diagnosis for the condition. If it goes undiagnosed and untreated for long enough then it can have an extreme affect on the individuals ability to live life to the fullest as the condition can limit people in many ways.

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

For the best treatment results possible it is essential that this condition be detected during the early stages. However, most individuals will not even consider attempting a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis during the early stages of the condition, as they do not realize the symptoms that are experienced at this time. Therefore, it is important that you know about all of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis so you can effectively detect the condition and seek professional diagnosis and treatment for it subsequently.

Possibly the most common symptom that is a major indicator that an individual has this condition is a significantly increased salt-taste to their skin. This is a result of the increased amount of salt that is produced with sweat and it is common in all individuals with this medical condition. Some of the later symptoms of cystic fibrosis that may not be noticed until the adolescent or adult years include consistent coughing, lung or sinus infections, inability to gain weight, and bowel movement problems.

How to Diagnose an Individual with Cystic Fibrosis
If an individual were experiencing some of the respiratory or digestive symptoms that are caused by cystic fibrosis then it would be recommended that they visit their doctor immediately. If more than a few of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis are being experienced then it would be necessary for that individual to get diagnosed properly right away so treatment can begin quickly as well.

The most common and effective way to diagnose an individual with cystic fibrosis is to administer a sweat test. This test monitors the levels of salt (sodium chloride) that is in the individual’s sweat. A chemical solution, which creates an electric current, is used to speed up the production of sweat for the testing sample. After the sweat is produced, it will be gathered with the use of a gauze pad and later tested for the levels of salt that it contains.

Alternative Testing Methods for Diagnosing Cystic Fibrosis

The results that are received from the sweat test method are typically accurate for adolescents and adults but they are not nearly as accurate for newborns. This is due to the fact that newborns typically sweat much less than adolescents and adults. If a newborn is being tested for cystic fibrosis then it may be recommended that an immunoreactive trysinogen test (IRT) be completed. This test requires precise analysis of the newborn’s blood to determine whether the newborn has cystic fibrosis or not. Even some adolescents and adults may not experience an excessive amount of salt in their sweat so the IRT diagnosis method may be preferable for some.

Cystic fibrosis is a serious medical condition that can have a major affect on how an individual lives their life. Detecting the condition and treating it in a timely manner is absolutely essential to prevent it from interfering with the affected individuals daily life. If cystic fibrosis is suspected then it is crucial that you get tested for the condition and receive a professional diagnosis as quickly as possible.

There are some other testing methods that could be used to diagnose cystic fibrosis include x-rays (chest), skin cell scraping, and blood tests. In some rare cases a pulmonary function test will be used to diagnose an individual with cystic fibrosis. There are a few other possible testing methods for diagnosing cystic fibrosis so you should speak with your doctor about the best method for you to use.

Last updated on Oct 9th, 2010 and filed under Other Conditions & Diseases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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