Knowing some Cystic Fibrosis facts will help you understand this disease and the effects it has on the body. Cystic Fibrosis affects the pancreas, liver, intestines, lungs, sinuses and sexual organs.
A Genetic Condition
Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that is inherited. If both parents pass on a faulty CFTR gene, the child will have Cystic Fibrosis, but if only one parent passes on a faulty CFTR gene, the child will be a carrier. If that child has a child with another person with a faulty gene, both genes could get passed on to the grandchild, and the grandchild will have Cystic Fibrosis.
Because children inherit genes from both parents, there is only a chance that a child born of two carriers will develop the disease. There is a 50% chance that a child will be a carrier, a 25% chance that the child will have Cystic Fibrosis and a 25% chance that the child will have two normal CFTR genes.
Effects on the Body
Cystic fibrosis makes the mucus in the body become thick and sticky. Mucus is the "oil" for certain organs; it keeps the organs moist and keeps them from getting infected. Mucus is normally slippery and watery. When the mucus gets thick and sticky, it builds up in the lungs and blocks the airways, making it easy for bacteria to grow. This often leads to lung infections.
Thick, sticky mucus also blocks the pancreatic ducts, keeping digestive enzymes from reaching the small intestine. These enzymes are needed to break down food; if they cannot get from the pancreas to the small intestine, the body is unable to absorb the proper amount of fats and proteins. This cause vitamin deficiencies, as well as gas, severe constipation and bulky stools.
Cystic Fibrosis also affects the sweat glands, making sweat extremely salty. People with Cystic Fibrosis lose too much salt when they sweat, which eventually causes dehydration, tiredness, decreased blood pressure, increased heart rate and heat stroke. In rare cases, it may even cause death.
Types and Treatment
Cystic fibrosis symptoms vary from person to person. Symptoms can also vary over time. Cystic Fibrosis management treats these symptoms as they develop. Antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent infections. Dietary changes and supplements may be needed. The greatest risk to a person with Cystic Fibrosis is lung failure, so a lung transplant may be necessary.
Cystic fibrosis is also known as Cystic Fibroses of the Pancreas, Fibrocystic Disease of the Pancreas, Mucoviscidosis, Mucoviscidosis of the Pancreas, Pancreas Fibrocystic Disease and Pancreatic Cystic Fobrosis. There are more than 1,000 afflictions that can cause the CFTR gene to become defective. Depending on which cause makes the gene defective, Cystic Fibrosis symptoms can range from very mild to life-threatening.