By: Ashley Edwards
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic Fibrosis was first discovered by an American Pathologist named Dr. Dorothy Andersen in 1938. It is a single gene mutation, where your lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick mucus, resulting in the blockage of airways. This can be shown in the diagram below.
There are many side effects of cystic fibrosis that doctors can use to diagnose a patient. Here are a few:
- thick & sticky mucus
- clubbed fingertips
- deformed chest
- stomach pain
- difficulty gaining weight
- salty sweat
- trouble breathing
- persistent lung infections
Clubbed fingertips are common among people with cystic fibrosis, as shown above.
Some people with CF are born with a deformed chest, where it looks as if their chest has caved in to some extent. This is demonstrated in this picture.
This is an x-ray of a patient's chest, who has cystic fibrosis.
How is CF inherited?
How Common is Cystic Fibrosis?
Usually, a doctor uses the basic symptoms of cystic fibrosis to diagnose a person, but their are other tests than can determine if you have the disorder or not. A sweat chloride test, shown in the diagram below, is used to test the salt content in a patient's sweat. This is helpful for diagnosing cystic fibrosis because people with CF tend to have a very high salt content in their sweat compared to the average person. This procedure can be done by pulsing a small electric current through their arm, which will help produce enough sweat to test. Lastly, chest x-rays are also helpful for diagnosing CF because your lungs are drastically affected by the disorder.