A disease that affects the digestive system and the lungs, Cystic fibrosis is diagnosed in approximately 30,000 adults and children in the U.S. and, worldwide, approximately 70,000. Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited genetic disease, caused by a defective gene. This defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce a sticky, thick mucus. It is this unusually thick and sticky mucus which obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food, and clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections.
Due to great strides in medicine, the life expectancy for those with CF has expanded from living through elementary school in the 1950's to now living through the 30's, 40's and sometimes longer.
Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis can include, but are not limited to the following:
-very salty-tasting skin;
-persistent coughing, at times with phlegm;
-wheezing or shortness of breath;
-frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements.
-frequent lung infections;
-poor growth/weight gain in spite of a good appetite
The main focus of treatment involves clearing the airways and lungs of the thick, viscous mucus.Nutrition and drug therapies are also important for children and adults with cystic fibrosis.
For in depth information about Cystic Fibrosis, please go to: www.cff.org
Aimee Boyle is a regular contributor to EmpowHer.