An overview of cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis can be best described as an inherited disorder, which may cause extreme damage to multiple organs in the body. However, it mainly creates a negative impact on the digestive system and the lungs. It targets the cells that produce sweat, mucus, and even digestive juices. In general, these fluids are thin and slippery. However, in people who are affected with this condition, there is a defective gene present, which causes the secretions to become thick and sticky. Therefore, instead of functioning as lubricants, these secretions end up plugging the tubes, passageways, and ducts in the pancreas and lungs, affecting the patients negatively. Here, we will discuss some cystic fibrosis symptoms and causes in detail.
What are the respiratory signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis?
The respiratory signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis can be categorized as forming a certain type of mucus that blocks the passages of the lungs. While this is the primary cystic fibrosis symptom, it can result in many other symptoms as well. These symptoms are as follows:
- Coughing persistently with sputum formation
- Making a wheezing sound while breathing
- Not able to breathe properly, resulting in some level of breathlessness
- Extreme intolerance toward exercise
- Repeatedly suffering from lung infections
- Suffering from a stuffy nose or having an inflamed nasal passage
What are the digestive signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis?
The symptoms of cystic fibrosis are not limited to the respiratory system; they may also be experienced in the digestive system. The signs and symptoms of cystic fibroids occurring in the digestive system include the following:
- The stools can be greasy and smell extremely bad
- The growth of the individual can get hampered and weight gain may become stagnant
- As for newborns with this disorder, intestinal blockage may be a big problem. This may occur for adults too, but it is mostly seen in newborns.
- Constipation can be quite severe.
As for children, another of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis may be a protruding large intestine because of the strain caused to the anus while trying to excrete. In such a situation, parents should immediately get medical help.
What are some of the causes of cystic fibrosis?
- Mutations in cells are the main cause of cystic fibrosis.
- For normal people, there is a gene that has proteins responsible for the movement of salts outside and inside the cells. However, this particular gene is mutated in people suffering from cystic fibrosis.
- Additionally, the level of mutations occurring in the body may vary from patient to patient, depending upon the severity of the condition. Therefore, it is actually the problem with the cells that mainly causes this issue.
Is there any particular demographic that is at a higher risk of cystic fibrosis?
- Yes, there are certain people who may be more prone to being affected by cystic fibrosis as compared to others.
- People who have a family history of cystic fibrosis are at a higher risk, since the passing on of the concerned gene is possible to a large extent.
- Although cystic fibrosis may occur in any race, it is most commonly found in white Europeans belonging to the Northern regions of the continent.
What are some of the complications associated with cystic fibrosis?
The complications associated with cystic fibrosis can be sub-categorized under two categories. The complications with the digestive system include the following:
- Damage to the airways
- Prone to chronic infections
- Experiencing growth in the nose
- Coughing out blood
- Failure of the respiratory system
On the other hand, the respiratory complications include those listed here:
- Suffering from nutritional deficiencies
- Since the pancreas is affected, some patients may even contract diabetes as a further complication
- Having a blocked bile duct
- Obstruction in the intestine
The aforementioned information regarding the signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis may help you in diagnosing the disease at the earliest and getting started with the treatment so that minimum damage is done to the respiratory and the digestive system.