Cystic Fibrosis

A crippling genetic disorder......

What is it?

This disorder affects the exocrine glands, causing the production of abnormally thick mucus. This leads to blockage in multiple areas of the respiratory system and infection. Symptoms include chronic cough, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and developmental issues.

Who does it affect?

This disorder is much more common in the Caucasian population than it is in other ethnic groups, occurring in about 1 in 2,500 to 3,500. Public figures with CF include Albert Einstein, Lisa Bentley (world-renown triathalon athete), and Bill Williams (well known professional soccer player).

Genetics

There are more then 1,800 different possible DNA mutations that cause CF, but the most common is a deletion of only 3 nucleotides. The deletes the amino acid phenylalaline. Fortunately, this CF is caused by a recessive allele.
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Treatment

CF is usually diagnosed before the age of 2 through screenings, but can also be diagnosed using sweat testing or genetic testing. Unfortunately, it cannot be cured. But numerous antibiotics are used to treat it through injection, mouth, or inhaling. Procedures such as postural drainage are used frequently. This drains the lungs of unwanted fluids. Also, a device known as a chest wall oscillater vibrates at a high frequency to break up the thick mucus in ones chest. All these treatment are effective ways to deal with this crippling disorder.

By: Luke Van Dresser