Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-limiting genetic disorder.
It affects the whole body, but mainly the respiratory system (lungs), the digestive system (the pancreas and sometimes the liver) and the reproductive system.
How it affects people
When a person has CF, their mucus is very thick and sticky. It’s difficult for people with CF to clear this mucus from their lungs. It clogs the tiny air passages and traps bacteria. This causes recurring infections and blockages, which can cause irreversible lung damage over time.
Thick mucus in the digestive system can also affect the transfer of digestive enzymes from the pancreas to the small intestine. This leads to difficulty with digesting fats and absorbing some nutrients.
This means that people with CF can have problems with nutrition and need to consume a diet high in kilojoules, fats and salts.
CF is the most common life-limiting genetic disorder affecting Australians today for which there is no cure.
Symptoms of cystic fibrosis
People with CF may experience:
- a persistent cough that sometimes produces thick mucus
- difficulty breathing
- frequent lung infections
- salty sweat – salt loss in hot weather may produce muscle cramps or weakness
- tiredness, lethargy or reduced ability to exercise
- poor growth or weight gain
- frequent visits to the toilet
- bulky, greasy poo
- diarrhoea or constipation
- poor appetite
- CF-related diabetes
- infertility in males.
Diagnosis of cystic fibrosis
In Australia, most babies are screened at birth for CF through the newborn screening test. This involves collection of a blood sample through a heel prick test immediately after birth.
One in every 2,500 births produces a child who has CF. Approximately 3,500 people in Australia have CF. Most people who have CF are diagnosed within the first two months of life.
If you’re planning a pregnancy, you can be tested to see if you’re carrying the CF gene. Chat with your Pascoe Vale doctor for more information.
Help support cystic fibrosis
May is 65 Roses month, an annual national fundraising and awareness initiative. It raises awareness and essential funds to extend and improve the quality of life for people with CF.
You can get involved in the 65 Roses Challenge by creating your own fundraising event, selling merchandise or making a tax deductible donation. It’s a great cause.
Source: BetterHealth Channel
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.