DECEMBER 3, 2008
Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects several of the major systems of the human body. These systems are the respiratory system, the digestive system, the sweat glands, and the reproductive system. If affects these systems because an abnormal gene causes the normally watery mucus in certain organs to become thick and sticky. This thick sticky mucus can block air passages in the lungs and respiratory system, as well as causing blockages in the tubes and ducts in the other systems of the body that carry enzymes. This can cause problems with absorption of nutrients into the body.
A mutated gene that encodes the membrane transport of protein causes Cystic Fibroses. This gene is called CFTR. CFTR helps chloride and water move in and out of cells that secrete mucus or sweat. In 1952 Cedric Carter was the first to recognize the way in which the Cystic Fibrosis gene is transmitted from one generation to the next. The Cystic Fibrosis gene is a recessive gene. A person must get a pair of abnormal genes from both parents in order to get Cystic Fibrosis. It is the most common recessive genetic disease of Caucasians and occurs equally as often in both sexes. It is extremely rare in Chinese and Negro races in Africa.
The symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis are many and change throughout a persons life. A newborn may of intestinal obstruction and prolonged jaundice. Infants may have rectal prolapse, recurrent loose stool, distended abdomen, recurrent chestiness, coughing or wheezing, a salty taste to the sweat, poor weight gain with high appetite, unexplained dehydration and an allergy to milk. Since these symptoms are common in infancy and may be mild, the Cystic Fibrosis diagnosis is often overlooked. Older children may have incomplete intestinal obstruction, nasal polyps, bronchiectasis or recurrent chest infections, heat prostration, and will frequently be underweight. If the person reaches...