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All About Cystic Fibrosis by Taylor Autry

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Recently my family was told it was possible my son had Cystic Fibrosis. This proposition was worrisome for many reasons, but one of the main reasons was that we realized how little we actually knew about it. It is a disease that one often hears about but rarely knows exactly what it means.

Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that primarily affects the lungs and the pancreas. This is because the disease causes the mucous in the body to become thick and glue-like. The main concern for people with cystic fibrosis is lung problems and generally the disease worsens over time. Other things the disease can cause problems with our digestion and growth. Although the disease gets worse over time, there have been many improvements in treatment and the life expectancy has become much better than before. Nowadays, a person diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis can live into their mid to late thirties and sometimes even into their forties.

White children are primarily affected because Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease and it affects children because it is usually diagnosed at a young age. It is caused by a mutated or changed gene. In order for a set of parents to pass on the disease to a child, both parents must carry the affected gene. It is possible for someone to be a carrier of the gene and not know.

Some symptoms the disease is spotted by are, extremely sweaty and/or salty skin, and the inability to pass his/her first stool at birth, this is attributed to blocked small intestines, not growing or gaining weight as a normal child would, and constant lung infections, a cough that will not subside and constant wheezing. A physical attribute that may be present is rounding of the tips of the fingers.

There are a number of different tests done to detect Cystic Fibrosis. Some of these tests are sweat tests and genetic testing. During the sweat test, there will be a small amount of a sweat-producing chemical applied to the body to test for excess salt in the sweat. The other test is genetic testing which tests for defects in the gene responsible for Cystic Fibrosis. This is found through blood and DNA testing. Usually, genetic testing is done on newborns and the sweat test is done on children a month old and older.

The treatment for Cystic Fibrosis is more of a maintenance treatment, rather than a cure. As of now, there is no cure for cystic fibrosis. The treatment is circumstantial and tailored to the patient, as different patience present different symptoms. Although in most situations there are respiratory and nutritional therapies.

Cystic Fibrosis is a serious disease and should not be taken lightly. With that being said, it is still completely possible to live a normal, healthy, and happy life, just with added management for the disease. As stated earlier advancements in treatment continue, making the life expectancy longer. There will be regular tests that should be administered to maintain organ health and lung function.



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