What is Cystic Fibrosis?????
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease, which means that children are born with it. The term “cystic fibrosis” is often shortened to CF. Both boys and girls can be affected, but CF cannot be “caught” or passed from one child to another. Although there is no cure for cystic fibrosis to date, there have been important advances in diagnosis and treatment.
Cystic fibrosis can affect many organs in the body, especially the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestines. Normally, the lungs have a thin coating of mucus which helps them to keep out germs, but in people with CF, the mucus is thick and sticky. It can clog the lungs and block airways, making breathing difficult. It also makes it easier for germs to develop into infections and to cause inflammation. The thick, sticky mucus can affect the pancreas and digestive system, too. As a result, food is not properly digested, causing bowel problems and effecting energy levels and growth. People with cystic fibrosis are differently; some have more problems with the lungs, others with the digestive system.
The symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis can include coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath, frequent chest infections, problems absorbing food, bowel problems and poor growth and weight gain.
How is Cystic Fibrosis Managed?
Cystic Fibrosis is a lifelong disorder that needs daily therapy and medication; however most children with cystic fibrosis can live fairly normal and active lives. There are many different aspects to treatment, including medication, diet and chest physiotherapy. Children have regular health checks and tests to monitor their CF and to keep a check on their growth, development and well-being. As all children with cystic fibrosis are affected differently, they each have their own personal treatment programme. Parents and children work alongside CF specialists who manage CF care together as a team. A combination of medication and chest physiotherapy is needed to maintain nutrition and lung function and prevent chest infections developing. Children are also encouraged to exercise and take part in sports and active games as this helps lung function and bone and muscle strength.