Symptoms And Treatment Of Cystic Fibrosis Essay

Symptoms And Treatment Of Cystic Fibrosis Essay

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Your child is under weight, has greasy, smelly diarrhea, a chronic cough and seems to always be getting pneumonia. He wheezes when he breathes and has impaired exercise ability. He seems to never being growing to the average size of his peers and his skin is very salty (5). The doctor’s first instinct should be to test your child for a disease called cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a disease, which causes the mucus in your body to be thicker in some areas. The most affected areas are the lungs and digestive system. As a result, the person may get chest infections and have difficulty digesting food. When cystic fibrosis is a consideration for a person’s disease the physician will do what is called a sweat test. This is a simple and cheap way to determine if your child has the disease. Because people who have cystic fibrosis (CF) have saltier sweat than others, the sweat test detects the amount of salt in the sweat of the individual (4). This is the best way to diagnose a person with the disease (5).
CF is a genetic disease, meaning that a person does not “catch it”, it is inherited in the genes passed down to the person. Cystic fibrosis lasts with the patient for their whole life. This makes it a chronic disease, not communicable (9). All symptoms of CF are caused by a mutation to the single chromosome 7. This particular gene is responsible for the building of the protein called the cystic fibrosis trans membrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Normally, the gene regulates the passage of chloride ions in and out of the cell, but when mutated as in the case of CF patients the chloride ions cannot move throughout the cell membrane because the CFTR does not open. In about three- quarter of CF cases the CFTR is not just broken, ...


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...ed is the short life expectancy, however the advanced treatments that have been developed have assisted in prolonging the life expectancy of CF patients. In 1940 the majority of children with CF did not live until their first birthday. By 1969 most patients with CF lived until their 14th birthday, and in 1996 the average life expectancy of a person with CF is 39 years old, this figure is constantly improving (2).
Perhaps the hardest thing to deal with is the fact that there is nothing that can be done to prevent it from happening, it is simply in the DNA makeup of the individual. Cystic fibrosis is a challenging disease to live with but the treatments that have been developed are forever improving the quality of life of those diagnosed with the fatal disease. Maybe with the advancements in medicine, one day there will be a cure, but all that can be done is hope.

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