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Cystic Fibrosis: All You Need to Know

Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 93% (35325 ratings)
MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad  •  42 years experience
Cystic Fibrosis: All You Need to Know

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition, which primarily affects the lungs and persistence of this condition might lead to severe breathing problems and loss of lung function. If you have inherited two copies of the defective gene from your parents, you are likely to suffer from this disease. Cystic Fibrosis causes a buildup of thick mucus in your lungs and affects other organs such as the kidneys, pancreas and the intestines in your body.

It isn't very uncommon as one out of fifty people in Asia is a carrier of this disease. The disease gets its name from the cysts formed in the pancreas of the sufferer. However, this disease can be detected by testing the quantity of salt present in your sweat. Prenatal testing for Fibrosis is another method to test if your newborn is likely to contract a lung infection.

Complications faced due to cystic fibrosis include:

  1. Serious sinus infections
  2. Serious damage in lungs due to inflammation and incessant infection
  3. Malnutrition
  4. Complication in breaking down protein
  5. Respiratory tract contamination

If you observe one or more of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from Cystic Fibrosis:

  1. Salty-tasting skin
  2. Bowel obstruction caused due to meconium ileus (obstruction of the bowels)
  3. Mucus amiss in your alveoli
  4. Persistent coughing with phlegm discharge
  5. Shortness of breath while engaging in a physical task
  6. Stunted or measly growth despite healthy lifestyle habits
  7. Infertility in males

If you're suffering from cystic fibrosis, there isn't any particular treatment which is recommended due to the varying degrees of it found in people. However, consultation with a medical practitioner and an individualised treatment plan can help you minimise the risks and lead a better life.

Some therapies you can opt for are:

  • Airway clearance: This therapy helps sift the thick layer of mucus around your organs. Some people have also chosen to use the inflatable vest which vibrates around your chest, thereby, thinning and loosening the layer of mucus.
  • Inhaled medicines: Another breakthrough in the field of respiratory medicine, this method requires the patient to sniff a liquid consisting of mist, which is inhaled with the aid of a nebuliser. This method is known to be beneficial for opening airways.
  • Pancreatic enzyme supplements: Along with multivitamins, these specially designed supplements are known to cater to your pancreas with the much-needed nutrients and they need to be consumed with every meal. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a pulmonologist.
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