Cystic fibrosis is a serious disease which can prove to be fatal if not treated properly. This is a condition in which thick, mucous secretion builds up in body. The digestive tract and the lungs are most commonly affected. Cystic fibrosis mainly affects children and young adults.
This condition is caused due to an abnormal gene. Due to this genetic abnormality, the body starts producing mucous like thick secretion which builds up in the various organs of the body, especially the lungs and the pancreas. The suffering person may have serious breathing problems due to this when the lungs are affected and serious digestive problems when this condition affects the pancreas.
There are many individuals who are the carriers of this defective gene. However there is no symptom hence this condition cannot be diagnosed at an early stage. Usually the symptoms of this condition is seen in children at the age of 2 but there are some cases in which the condition remains undiagnosed even till 18 years of age.
What is cystic fibrosis has been answered, now let’s look at the symptoms.
Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms:
A) These are the symptoms of cystic fibrosis seen in a newborn
-the child fails to gain weight
-bowel movements fail to occur for the first 2 to 3 days after birth
-delayed growth may be seen
-the skin has a salty taste
B) Some of the bowel related symptoms of cystic fibrosis include the following:
– Severe constipation which may cause pain in the belly area
– Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite which results in the general weight loss
– The abdomen appears to be distended, bloating sensation along with increased gas
– Abnormal appearing stool. There may be unusual grey clay like color to the stool with a foul odor. Presence of mucous is visible in the stool.
C) Some of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis seen when the lungs and other sinuses are involved are as follows:
-increased mucous in the lungs and the other sinuses
-some individuals complain of extreme fatigue
-there may be recurrent episodes of pneumonia
-more sputum may be seen in the affected individual, increased coughing, shortness of breath, loss of appetite which results in gradual weight loss
-pain felt in the sinus area
D) Some of the long term symptoms of cystic fibrosis include the following:
-infertility in men
-respiratory infections and other symptoms
Tests which help in diagnosis of cystic fibrosis include the following:
A general blood test is generally used to diagnose cystic fibrosis. Additional tests may be carried out to detect the gene which is responsible for causing cystic fibrosis. A standard test known as the immunoreactive trypsinogen test is performed on a newborn to scan him for cystic fibrosis.
Another sign of cystic fibrosis is the presence of excess salt in a person’s sweat. Hence a sweat chloride test is usually performed.
Fecal fat test, lung function test, CT scan, pancreatic function test, stool examination are few of the important tests which help in diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.
– Antibiotic to treat infection
– Inhalation of medicines which open the blocked airway
– Enzyme therapy to thin down the mucous
– Hypertonic saline treatment
– Lung transplant and oxygen therapy in serious cases
So now you tell me, what is cystic fibrosis?
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