Cystic Fibrosis Mini Documentary


Cystic Fibrosis is a life threatening disease,
which causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. The disease is inherited
and affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat, and digestive juices. Normally, secretions
from these cells are thin and slippery, but in people with Cystic Fibrosis, a defective
gene makes these secretions thick and sticky. This means that instead of acting as a lubricant
like they are supposed to, the secretions cause parts of the respiratory and digestive
system to become clogged making it difficult to breathe or receive adequate nutrition. The symptoms caused by Cystic Fibrosis vary
from person to person. Some people may experience severe symptoms, while others may experience
very mild symptoms. Respiratory symptoms include a persistent cough that produces thick mucus,
wheezing, breathlessness, repeated lung infections and inflamed nasal passages. Digestive symptoms
include foul-smelling, greasy stools, poor weight gain and growth, as well as intestinal
blockages and severe constipation. Another unique symptom in almost all Cystic Fibrosis
patients is a higher than normal level of salt in their sweat. The cause of Cystic Fibrosis is a defect in
a gene that codes for a protein in charge of regulating the movement of salt in to and
out of cells. Scientists have identified many different defects possible within the gene,
each leading to a form of Cystic Fibrosis. Inheritance of this disease is autosomal recessive.
This means a child must inherit a copy of the defective gene from both parents in order
to have the disease. In 1982 Colorado was the first state to begin
screening all newborns for Cystic Fibrosis, today all 50 states have implemented a newborn
screening program. The newborn screen consists of a blood test where the doctors prick the
heel of the newborn and check the blood for the presence of IRT or immunoreactive trypsinogen.
IRT is a protein released by the pancreas and higher than normal levels indicate the
possibility of Cystic Fibrosis. If the screen comes back positive, Doctors than perform
two additional tests. A sweat test looks to see if the sweat is saltier than normal and
a genetic test, checks the DNA for known defects in the gene. If a person was not screened at birth, but
are exhibiting symptoms for Cystic Fibrosis, doctors use the same sweat test and genetic
test on adults. There is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, and
historically, individuals who were affected by the disease were not expected to survive
very long. With modern technology, medicine has positively impacted the prognosis for
Cystic Fibrosis Patients. Treatments are available to ease symptoms and reduce complications.
Most individuals with Cystic Fibrosis are expected to live into their 30s and 40s and some into their 50s. While treatments cannot cure Cystic Fibrosis,
they can reduce symptoms and treat complications. Antibiotics are used to prevent and control
lung infections. Bronchodilators, chest clappers, inflatable vests, and breathing devices help
loosen and remove mucus from the lungs. Drugs are available to prevent and treat intestinal
blockages. Oral pancreatic enzymes help ensure adequate nutrition. Scientists are continuing to research Cystic Fibrosis and look for a cure.

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