Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease. While you don’t hear much about the disease, over 10 million Americans carry the CF gene. Because it can be life-threatening, getting diagnosed with CF or having a child that is diagnosed can be scary. But is cystic fibrosis curable or treatable?
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a condition that causes the body to produce unusually thick and sticky mucus that can cause lung infections and make it difficult to breathe. The mucus can also clog up the pancreas and cause digestive problems that lead to malnutrition. The condition has also been tied to male infertility and osteoporosis.
Is Cystic Fibrosis Curable? What’s the Prognosis?
People with cystic fibrosis are prone to shorter-than-average life spans. The most common cause of death in people with CF is respiratory failure. Although there is no cure for CF, advancements in medical treatments are leading to longer life expectancy. By practicing healthy lifestyle habits and managing their disease, people with CF can still be active and have a good quality of life.
What is the Cause of Cystic Fibrosis?
CF can be inherited when both parents have the defective CF gene, which disrupts the balance of salt and water around cells. This imbalance leads to the production of thicker-than-normal mucus. If two carriers of the CF gene have a child, there is a 25% chance the child will have CF, and there’s a 50% chance the child will be a carrier but not have the condition.
How Do You Treat Cystic Fibrosis?
People with cystic fibrosis usually have a therapist to help administer treatment such as airway clearance techniques (ACTs). Medications to thin mucus are usually administered through inhalers. Advanced technologies, such as CFTR modulators, can also help thin out thick mucus by ensuring the flow of salt and fluids on the surface of the lungs. Ibuprofen and azithromycin are normally used to improve and sustain lung function.
Cystic fibrosis can impede digestive function and nutrient absorption, so a nutritionist can help with finding the right foods, vitamins, and supplements that CF patients need. Proper nutrition is critical for fighting off lung infections in people with CF.