Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease of the mucous and sweat glands, which causes the accumulation of thick and sticky mucus in the lungs, the digestive tract and other parts of the body. It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults.
The pulmonologist Rosaly Moreno, Hospital HLA San Carlos, he assures that "It is caused by a defective gene that leads the body to produce an abnormally thick and sticky fluid called mucus, which accumulates in the respiratory tract and in the pancreas." This accumulation of mucus causes life-threatening lung infections and serious digestive problems. It can also affect the male reproductive system.
The symptoms of cystic fibrosis vary according to age. In newborns could cause growth retardation, inability to gain weight or absence of stools in the first 48 hours of life. This condition is detected in the heel test, which is done to children within a few hours of birth. Cystic fibrosis can also produce symptoms related to bowel function, among which are abdominal pain, increased gas or nausea, manifestations related to the lungs and sinuses, as well as sterility, pancreatitis and malformations in the fingers.
"To diagnose cystic fibrosis, a series of tests are performed, the most common being the blood test, which detects variations in the cystic fibrosis gene. Other tests used are the immunoreactive trypsinogen test and the sweat chloride test. A high level of salt in sweat may be a sign of the disease", And Dr. Moreno.
Different ways of treating the disease
Pulmonary problems can be treated with antibiotics, inhaled medications, influenza vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine. Pulmonary physiotherapy can help dilute mucus, which improves symptoms and prevents complications.
In some cases, as the lung disease worsens, the patient may need oxygen therapy, and even a lung transplant. Dr. Moreno says that "An early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and a treatment plan can improve both patient survival and quality of life".
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