What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease that causes mucus in the body to become thick and sticky. Cystic fibrosis is not an infectious disease, but instead the sufferer is more susceptible to contracting an infection when close to or coming into contact with people with infectious diseases.
Under normal circumstances, mucus that acts as a lubricant in the body is liquid and slippery. In people with cystic fibrosis, there are abnormalities in genes that regulate the flow of fluid and salt in cells.
This gene abnormality causes mucus to become sticky and inhibits a number of channels in the body. The respiratory tract is one of them.
As a result of this blockage, some organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, are impaired and even damaged.
What is Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms?
Some of the symptoms that can arise when this condition attacks the lungs are:
- Prolonged cough.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Coughing occurs when the body tries to clear the lungs of viscous mucus, and these symptoms are the most common. In addition to the above symptoms, lung infections are also susceptible to cystic fibrosis. This infection can become more severe and potentially contagious among fellow cystic fibrosis sufferers due to the proliferation of bacteria.
In the digestive system, the pancreatic tract can also be clogged with mucus. With the blockage of the pancreas, the automatic digestive enzymes produced by the organ cannot reach the intestines to aid the digestive process of food. That’s why cystic fibrosis sufferers who have a disorder of their digestive system will experience symptoms such as:
- Weight loss or even stunted growth due to undigested foods so the sufferers are malnourished.
- The texture of the stool is smell, clumpy, and oily.
In newborns, cystic fibrosis can clog up the initial excretion process or meconium process that generally comes out on the first day or the second day of birth.
The thick black dirt becomes difficult to pass through the intestines because the texture changes become denser. The condition is called meconium ileus and its treatment can only be performed through surgery. In addition to meconium ileus, babies born with cystic fibrosis are also prone to experiencing symptoms of jaundice.
A person who has cystic fibrosis will also be susceptible to:
- Nasal infections, such as nasal polyps and sinusitis.
- Infertility in men due to obstruction of the channel that carries spe**rm, as well as infertility in women due to the disruption of the menstrual cycle and the thickness of fluid in the uterine wall.
- Urinary incontinence due to loss of automatic control of the bladder, so urine can seep out at any time.
- Liver disorders.
Symptoms that develop in cystic fibrosis can vary, so it is important to know the symptoms early on. Immediately perform an examination if the child experiences wheezing, shortness of breath, coughup bloody mucus, fever, lung infection, fatigue easily while doing activities, and slow or static weight growth even has clubbing fingers.
Cystic Fibrosis Causes
What is Cystic Fibrosis caused by?
Cystic fibrosis is caused by genes that mutate and are inherited in the family. The gene affects the movement of salt and water in and out of cells. In the event of repeated infection, there is a thick and sticky buildup of mucus in some of the body’s pipes such as the lungs and digestive system.
If both parents have one mutation of this gene, a child will have a 25% chance of suffering from cystic fibrosis.
What is Cystic Fibrosis Diagnosis?
Cystic fibrosis can already be diagnosed from a screening test since birth. Blood is taken from the baby’s heel and examined to prove whether it indicates cystic fibrosis.
Further examinations, such as sweat and genetic tests, are needed to confirm the diagnosis. A sweat test is carried out to check the amount of salt in the sweat. Cystic fibrosis sufferers generally have higher salt levels. If you have a family history with cystic fibrosis, do a genetic examination to see if you’re the gene carrier of the disease.