What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Posted on Dec 12, 2016 2017-07-07T14:44:46+00:00 0 Lung Disease Emergency Medical Care
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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a relatively common life-threatening genetic disease that impairs the secretory glands. It affects many different parts of the body including the lungs, pancreas, sweat glands and reproductive tract.

How Many people have CF and How is it Detected?

Approximately 30,000 Americans live with cystic fibrosis and approximately 10 million are carriers of the CF gene. There are over 900 mutation variants of the gene, so testing is difficult. Automatic screening for newborns is carried out in nearly all the hospitals in the United States. The disease is present from birth and caused by a mutated gene carried by both parents. If both parents carry the CF gene, there is a 25% chance their child will develop cystic fibrosis.

Is there a Cure for CF?

There is no cure for CF but there are many treatment options available today that can extend the life of CF sufferers such as nebulizer medications, inhaled medications, physiotherapy and oxygen supplementation. Ultimately a lung transplant has the best chance of greatly extending the life of a person with severe CF, although lung transplants are risky as the body can reject the donor organs which would greatly increase the risk of death.

What are the Symptoms?

CF causes too much salt to build up in cells, therefor creating a thick mucus that lines the lung walls making breathing difficult. A person with CF may have salty tasting skin if you were to kiss them. Symptoms of CF vary, but include: persistent and chronic coughing due to the constant buildup of mucus, exercise intolerance, poor appetite, slowed growth or weight loss, fatigue, wheezing.

What is the Life Expectancy for CF Patients?

People with CF are highly prone to lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia and are more vulnerable to the effects of these infections than healthy people, so they often die of complications caused by impaired breathing or lung infections. Life expectancy for people with CF varies on the severity of their condition and how well they respond to medication. Someone with a mild case may live a normal lifespan, however, the average life expectancy for people with CF is approximately 37 years of age. Thanks so much for visiting EMC! We hope you'll return again soon.