Cystic Fibrosis: A Brief Overview
Cystic fibrosis is a genetically transmitted disease. It passes down from family members, and many people are born with it, though others don’t show symptoms until later in life. The disease affects the exocrine glands, which in turn causes the body to produce very thick mucus. This substance is normally used to lubricate the body, but when it becomes too viscous, it instead blocks up pathways. These include lung bronchi, intestines, pancreatic ducts, and more. Breathing difficulty and respiratory infection often ensue.
So, what are the symptoms of cystic fibrosis? They include:
- shortness of breath
- persistent, mucus-laden coughing
- inability to exercise
- lung infections
- stuffy nose
- poor weight gain
- intestinal blockage and constipation
In recent years, awareness of cystic fibrosis has expanded dramatically. Since the 1950s and 1960s, when research started bringing its mechanisms to light and a number of famous people were revealed to suffer from the disease, it has taken center stage as a source of research and scientific inquiry. Today, doctors are busy diagnosing cystic fibrosis in adults, categorizing it (e.g., delayed onset cystic fibrosis and cystic fibrosis in babies) and determining the causes of cystic fibrosis.
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