General Health

How is Cystic Fibrosis is Passed Down Through Generations?


Cystic Fibrosis is a hereditary condition that primarily affects the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and gut. As a result of persistent lung infections, long-term conditions include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus. Other signs and symptoms include sinus infections, failure to thrive, steatorrhea, abnormal, rounded shape of the nail bed and toes, and infertility in most males. Symptom severity varies among individuals.

Cystic fibrosis is passed down through the generations in an autosomal recessive pattern. The presence of mutations in both copies of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein gene causes it. Those who have a single working copy are carriers, but otherwise appear to be in good health. Sweat, digestive fluids, and mucus are all produced by the CFTR gene. When the CFTR isn’t functioning correctly, normally thin secretions become thick.

A sweat test and genetic tests are used to detect the disease. In various parts of the world, newborns are screened at birth.

There is no cure for cystic fibrosis. Lung infections are treated with antibiotics, which can be given intravenously, inhaled, or taken orally. Azithromycin is an antibiotic that is occasionally used for a long period of time. Inhaling salbutamol or hypertonic saline may also be effective. Lung transplantation may be an option if the lung function continues to deteriorate.

It is necessary to replace pancreatic enzymes and take fat-soluble vitamin supplements, especially in children. Techniques for cleaning the airway, such as chest physiotherapy, are useful in the short term, but their long-term effects are questionable. The average life expectancy in developed countries is between 42 and 50 years. Respiratory problems are the leading cause of death in 80% of cystic fibrosis patients.

CF affects roughly 1 out of every 3,000 babies and is most common in adults of Northern European countries. 1 in every 25 people is a carrier. Africans and Asians have the lowest prevalence. Dorothy Andersen was the first to recognise it as a distinct disease in 1938, while descriptions that suit the syndrome date back to at least 1595. The fibrosis and cysts that grow within the pancreas are referred to as “cystic fibrosis.”

Signs and symptoms

Cystic fibrosis usually appears in childhood. Malabsorption causes frequent, big, oily stools in newborns and babies with cystic fibrosis, and they are underweight for their age. Meconium (First faeces, or stool, of a baby, is called meconium). Blocks the small intestine in 15–20 percent of babies, necessitating surgery to repair it. Neonatal jaundice occurs when the bile ducts get blocked in newborns. Children with cystic fibrosis lose an excessive amount of salt through perspiration, and parents frequently notice salt crystallising on the skin or a salty taste while kissing the children.

Progressive lung deterioration, which finally leads to respiratory failure, is the leading cause of illness and mortality in persons with cystic fibrosis. This usually starts as a long-term respiratory illness that lasts until medications are taken.

In persons with cystic fibrosis, chronic respiratory infection is practically ubiquitous, with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, fungi, and mycobacteria becoming increasingly frequent with time. Rhinorrhea and nasal congestion are common symptoms of upper airway inflammation. Nasal polyps are quite frequent in children and teens. Shortness of breath and a persistent cough with sputum are common symptoms as the illness advances.

Breathing difficulties make it difficult to exercise, and people who are afflicted become underweight for their age as a result of their sickness. People start to acquire serious indications of lung illness in late adolescence or adulthood: the high-pitched whistling sound made while breathing, rounded shape of the nail bed, a bluish tint of the skin or mucous membrane is a symptom of cyanosis, a pathologic illness., coughing up blood, pulmonary heart disease, and collapsed lung (atelectasis or pneumothorax is a full lung collapse or only a portion of a lung collapse).

Cystic fibrosis can certainly show as a coagulation disorder. Breast milk, formula, and subsequently solid meals are all good sources of vitamin K. Some CF patients have problems with absorption. Because only a little quantity of vitamin K passes the placenta, young infants are especially vulnerable to vitamin K malabsorptive diseases. After birth, the child will have low vitamin K reserves and a limited ability to absorb vitamin K from food sources. Because clotting factors II, VII, IX, and X are vitamin K dependent, vitamin K deficiency can cause coagulation problems. As a result, if a child has unusual bruising, a coagulation test may be investigated to establish if there is an underlying illness.


 Yash Batra

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