Cystic fibrosis is a disorder which can cause chronic damage to the digestive system, lungs and other organs of the body. Cystic fibrosis affects the cells which produce digestive juices, sweat and mucus. These fluids are slippery and thin. People who have Cystic fibrosis usually have thick and sticky secretions. This is caused by a defective gene. Instead of becoming a lubricant, the secretions plug up the passageways, ducts and tubes in the pancreas and lungs.
What causes cystic fibrosis?
During Cystic fibrosis a mutation in the gene transform a protein which regulates movement in and out of these cells. This results in sticky and thick mucus in the reproductive, digestive and respiratory system. A lot of defects can occur which usually depends on the severity of this disorder. Children can develop Cystic fibrosis if one or both the parent had this disease.
Risk factors of Cystic fibrosis:
- Family history- Since Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease, it tends to run in the family.
- Race- Though Cystic fibrosis can affect people of all races, it is more common in people belonging to the Northern European ancestry.
Complications of Cystic fibrosis:
- Bronchiectasis (Damaged airways)- Cystic fibrosis can cause bronchiectasis. This condtion damages the airways and makes it difficult to clear the mucus form the bronchial tubes and move air out of the lungs.
- Chronic infections- Mucus n the sinuses and lungs are an ideal breeding spot for fungi and bacteria. People who have Cystic fibrosis are more prone in developing pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus infections.
- Nasal polyps (growths inside the nose)- Since the lining of the nose tends to be swollen and inflamed, it can develop fleshy and soft growth (polyps).
- Hemoptysis (coughing blood)- Cystic fibrosis can sometimes cause thinning in the airway walls. Teenagers and adults who have Cystic fibrosis can also cough up blood in severe cases.
- Pneumothorax- In this condition the air starts to collect in the empty space which separates the chest walls from the lungs. Pneumothorax can also cause breathlessness and chest pain.
- Nutritional deficiencies- Many times, thick mucus can create obstruction the tubes which carry enzymes aiding in digestion from the pancreas to the intestines. In such cases, the body fails to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, fats and proteins.
- Distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS)- This condition is characterized by the complete or partial blockage where the large intestine meets the small intestine.