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Cystic Fibrosis: a Genetic Disease

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Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that creates issues in many of the organs. It has various effects and the level of severity varies for everyone affected. Cystic Fibrosis is a defective gene that causes the body to produce thick sticky mucus which will build up in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. The mucus produced can clog the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage as well as respiratory failure. In the pancreas, it causes the mucus to prevent the release of digestive enzymes needed in order for the body to, break down food, and absorb vital nutrients. It is known as the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults.Those affected by this disease have a significantly shortened lifespan and have issues with nutrition, digestion, and growth. Cystic fibrosis dates back to texts from the Middle Ages which link salty skin with damage to the pancreas.In those times infants who showed these signs were believed to be victims of witchcraft.It wasn’t until 1989 that the CFTR gene was discovered and linked to the disease of cystic fibrosis. Knowledge of the CFTR gene and its mutations made diagnosis much more accurate.

According to the studies of the Cystic fibrosis foundation, 50 percent of Canadians with cystic fibrosis are expected to live into their early 50s and beyond, and nearly 60 percent of all people with cystic fibrosis in Canada are adults. In the 1960s, most children did not live long enough to attend kindergarten. Since cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease, the only way to contract it is by inheriting two defective genes responsible for the disease from parents. It’s caused by a change, or mutation, in a gene. The changed gene is passed down in families. To pass on this disease, both parents must be carriers of the changed gene. What that means is they will not have the disease but may pass it onto their offspring. There are countless symptoms that come along with Cystic Fibrosis such as not growing in height or gaining weight like other children, clubbing (rounding and flattening) of the fingers, growths in the nose or sinuses ,persistent cough with productive thick mucus,wheezing and shortness of breath,frequent chest infections, which may include pneumonia, weight loss or failure to gain weight despite increased appetite,salty tasting sweat and lastly infertility in men who are affected.

There are countless others that were not listed and they have different severities for everybody.There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis but for people suffering from this illness there have been general improvements when compared to the past. There are a number of treatment methods that help living with the effects on their bodies. Treatments, diets and herbal remedies are there to control the effects. Considering that it is genetic, there is no way to stop it from appearing ,but there is testing for people to check of they carry the genetic gene before they conceive a child. Though there has been quite a few breakthroughs in dealing with CF, there is still a long way to go. People suffering from the symptoms have had their lifespans increased compared to those dealing with cf in the past but there is still no cure. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and bronchodilators are prescribed by doctors to clear the mucus up as well as lung transplants being an option for those with severe CF.

Other methods such as herbal medicine and proper nutrition

The treatments are just ways to deal with it and some come with consequences such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can cause even more damaging health issues rather than help.Organ rejection and infections are more issues that can occur with the treatments. Cystic Fibrosis Canada funds research projects in an effort to advance the treatments of cystic fibrosis as well as improve the quality of life for CF patients. Cystic Fibrosis Canada is currently funding more than $5.1 million in leading-edge research, supporting 50 research projects, 23 fellowship and studentship training awards, two national core facilities, and targeted research programs.

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