Cystic Fibrosis is a serious condition. It causes severe damage to the digestive system, lungs, liver, and other organs in the body. Cystic Fibrosis symptoms vary from one person to another. Also, it’s a genetic disorder.
Normally, sweat, mucus, and digestive fluids in the human body are super thin and smooth. But people who suffer from CF, have a defective gene that causes these fluids to become sticky. So the fluids clog ducts, passageways, and tubes, especially in the pancreas and lungs.
When Mucus builds up inside airways, this leads to respiratory failure. Also, this leads to germ infections and causes severe lung damage. These are life-threatening problems. So early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to receiving care as early as possible.
Doctors diagnose about 1,000 new cases every year. CF requires daily care but people who suffer from this condition can be able to attend work and school. They also have a better quality of life than people who had this condition in the past. You should be aware of the cystic fibrosis symptoms especially if you have a family history of CF.
Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms
Nowadays, Newborn screening tests help diagnose CF within the first month of life and before the symptoms develop.
As time passes, cystic fibrosis symptoms may improve or worsen in the same person. The symptoms may appear in infancy. Some other people may not experience the symptoms until adolescence.
Salty-tasting skin is a common symptom of Cystic Fibrosis. Parents often notice that when they kiss their children. Most of the other symptoms affect the digestive system and the respiratory system.
But people with CF are more likely to experience complications in the liver and pancreas.
The thick and sticky mucus clogs passageways that carry air in and out of the lungs. This can lead to some symptoms such as:
- Repeated lung infections
- Frequent coughing that produces thick mucus
- Breathing problems especially when exercising
- Stuffy nose
- Inflamed nasal passages
The sticky and thick mucus blocks channels that carry digestive enzymes from the pancreas to the small intestine. These digestive enzymes help the intestines to absorb nutrients in the food that you eat. So without the digestive enzymes, the result is:
- Poor weight gain
- Greasy stool
- Intestinal blockage
Cystic Fibrosis Causes
Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disorder. It occurs due to a defect in a gene called “Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator”. It regulates the salt in and out of cells. After a sudden mutation in the gene, mucus becomes thicker.
Sticky mucus builds up in the digestive and respiratory systems. Moreover, it increases the amount of salt in sweat.
The baby inherits the gene from each parent to have this disease. If the child inherits only one copy of the gene, he will be a carrier of the defective gene. So the child won’t develop CF but may pass the gene to his children.
It’s an inherited disorder and the severity of symptoms varies within the same family. The severity of the symptoms varies between siblings. Also, it runs in families.
It occurs in all races. But w
Cystic fibrosis symptoms may worsen with age. Each year people with CF may experience a small decline in lung function.
People with CF should drink plenty of fluids to help thin mucus in the lungs. They also should not smoke and they should exercise regularly to keep their lungs healthy. A healthy lifestyle can help people with CF a lot.
Couples who have close relatives with CF should undergo genetic testing. Genetic testing helps you know the child’s risk for cystic fibrosis. They test samples of blood or saliva from each parent.
You should undergo these tests before deciding to have children. Also, if you are pregnant, the test shows that the baby could be at risk of CF.
You can manage your condition in many ways. Make sure to check with your doctor before starting any remedy.
Here are some home remedies that you can help :
- Maintain a healthy weight as it linked to lung health. A healthy diet also can maintain good lung function.
- Drink plenty of fluids as fluids help thin mucus in the lungs.
- Most people with CF need to use nutritional supplements and vitamins.
- Consume more salt before exercising.
- Make sure to add more fiber to your diet to prevent intestinal blockage.
- Exercise regularly to strengthen your heart and loosen mucus in your airways.
- Don’t smoke or let people smoke around you. Smoking worsens lung disease.
- Wash your hands regularly to protect yourself against infections.
- You should have the vaccines the doctor recommends to protect your immune system.
- Take your medications and attend your regular follow-up appointments with the doctor.
- Contact your doctor if you notice any changes.
Now, people with Cystic Fibrosis live into their 40s and 50s. They live longer due to improvements in treatment methods. You can always manage your condition and reduce complications.