Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. It also produces a thick mucus that gets trapped in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. When stuck in the lungs, the mucus clogs a person’s airway and traps germs and bacteria that leads to infections. As a result of these infections, severe lung damage can occur, which will eventually lead to respiratory failure. The mucus also clogs the pancreas. It does not let digestive enzymes function properly, which allows the body to break down vital nutrients.
A genetic defect causes CF. In order for a person to develop Cystic Fibrosis they must inherit two copies of the defective gene for CF gene. Both parents must carry at least one copy of the CF gene, in order for their child to inherit the disease. People who suffer with CF will most likely experience the following symptoms: salty-tasting skin, persistent coughing, lung infections, wheezing, and poor growth.
If a doctor suspects that their patient could potentially be suffering from CF. there are a number of tests they can run. All 50 states run a basic genetic test for CF with the blood work that is called Newborn Screening. All states mandate screening newborns for CF using a genetic test or a blood test. If CF remains undiagnosed in children, doctors can do a sweat test. Couples who want to have children can get tested to see if they genetically carry Cystic Fibrosis. Expecting mothers can also do prenatal screening to see if their unborn child is at risk for CF. The severity of CF varies from patient to patient, meaning their symptoms can widely differ for each person with CF. Treatment plans vary due to the unpredictability of symptoms. Therefore, treatment plans are specified to each individual’s unique symptoms.
Airway clearance vests are among the best treatments for Cystic Fibrosis. The purpose of this is to loosen up the mucus from the lungs using an inflatable vest that vibrates at a high frequency. Cystic Fibrosis is a non-curable, terminal illness. While some cases are not as severe and patients can potentially live long lives, some cases leave patients strictly in hospital beds unable to partake in general activity. Although there is no cure, many of the top researchers at universities are currently working tirelessly to find one.