What Is Cystic Fibrosis?
So remember when I said that I was going to blog at least once per week about my big 10-day long hockey game for Cystic Fibrosis? Consider this my first of such postings.
Since one of the goals of the game is to raise awareness about CF, I figured that I should blog about what CF is.
When I first heard about this fundraiser, I thought about what I knew about this disease and, sadly, it wasn’t very much. I knew it had something to do with the lungs and had a vague recollection from a biochemistry class that I took many moons ago that maybe there was a chlorine pump involved at the molecular level. But that’s all I could remember – clearly, I needed to raise my own awareness about this disease! So I’ve done a bit of reading and now present you with:
Some Facts About Cystic Fibrosis:
- It’s a genetic disorder that affects many organs in the body
- Signs and symptoms include:
- difficulty breathing
- constant cough which brings up thick mucus
- excessive appetite, with weight loss
- bowel disturbances, such as intestinal obstruction or frequent, oily stools
- skin which tastes salty
- repeated or prolonged bouts of pneumonia
- failure to thrive1
- 1 in 25 Caucasian people carry one copy of the gene for CF (two copies of the gene are required to have the disease)
- results from a mutation in the gene for a protein called cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)2
- this protein regulates the components of sweat, digestive juices, and mucus
- a person must have two non-functioning copies of this gene to have CF
- there is currently no cure for CF, but treatments include, among other things, antibiotics to prevent/treat infections (which are common), medications and physical techniques to dislodge mucus in the lungs (see picture below), dietary and drug treatment for digestive tract manifestations of the disease; as lung disease progresses, people with CF may need to be on a ventilator and, ultimately, require a lung transplant.
- the life expectancy for people with CF in the US in 2008 was 37.4 years
- the median survival rate for people with CF in Canada in 2007 was 47.7 years
And here’s a video with some info on CF:
Image Credit: From the Wikimedia Commons.