Cystic Fibrosis refers to an inherited medical condition characterized by damage to the cells that produces mucous. This condition affects primarily the lungs, digestive system, and other vital organs of the body. Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis inherit a defective gene which makes the mucous, which is normally a thin slippery liquid, thick such that it starts obstructing ducts and arteries, especially in the lungs.
People with Cystic Fibrosis can be quite disabled as they do not have normal functioning vital organs of the body, especially the lungs. The prognosis for individuals with Cystic Fibrosis is rather poor.
However, with improvements in treatments and continuous research people have much improved quality of life, can be gainfully employed, and can live a much longer life than before.
Can Cystic Fibrosis be Cured?
As of now, there is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Treatment is aimed at calming down the symptoms and preventing any complications that can arise due to this disease. Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis require everyday care and close monitoring. The earlier the disease is diagnosed the better the quality of life of the patient becomes.
A patient with Cystic Fibrosis will require a multidisciplinary approach towards treatment. The primary goals of treatment for Cystic Fibrosis include preventing accumulation of mucous in the lungs, controlling infections especially in the lungs, and removing any blockages that may be present in the intestines due to thick mucus. Adequate nutrition is mandatory for patients with Cystic Fibrosis.
Medications in the form of antibiotics are given for lung or intestinal infections which are quite frequent in people with Cystic Fibrosis. Antiinflammatories are prescribed to calm down the swelling of the airways which is also quite common in people with Cystic Fibrosis.
Medications used for lowering the thickness of the mucous are given such that the patient is able to cough out excess mucous and improve functionality of the lungs. Bronchodilators are also quite often given to patients to keep the airways open.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is also recommended for patients with Cystic Fibrosis. This is a long term process and requires lot of patience from the patient and the caregivers. Pulmonary rehabilitation involves physical exercises to strengthen the lungs. This involves breathing exercises to improve respiration.
Nutritional counseling is done where a diet chart is prepared that best suits the patient and improves the quality of the life of the patient. Periodic psychologic counseling is given to the patient and family to help cope up with the disease condition.
There are also certain surgical procedures that form a part of the treatment plan for people with Cystic Fibrosis. These procedures include nasal polyp removal for improved breathing and oxygen therapy to improve oxygen levels in the body. Mucous build up in the lungs or the digestive system is suctioned out through tubes.
In the end stages of the disease, the patient requires feeding tube for nutritional support. Lung transplant is another procedure that is an option reserved for patients who have severe complications of the lungs due to Cystic Fibrosis. Lung transplant may be somewhat effective but the complications of Cystic Fibrosis always tend to return even after a successful transplantation.
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