What is it?
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited life threatening condition that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the respiratory and digestive system. This causes lung infections and problems with digesting food.
Cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce sweat, mucus, and digestive enzymes. Normally, these secreted fluids are thin and smooth like olive oil. They lubricate various organs and tissues, preventing them from getting too dry or infected. In people with cystic fibrosis, however, a faulty gene causes the fluids to become thick and sticky. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the fluids clog the ducts, tubes, and passageways in the body. This can lead to life-threatening problems, including infections, respiratory failure, and malnutrition.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of cystic fibrosis can vary depending on the person and the severity of the condition. The age at which symptoms develop can also differ. Symptoms may appear at infancy, but for other children, symptoms may not begin until after puberty or even later in life. As time passes, the symptoms associated with the disease may get better or worse.One of the first signs of cystic fibrosis is a strong salty taste to the skin. Parents of children with cystic fibrosis have mentioned tasting this saltiness when kissing their children. The build-up of sticky mucus in the lungs can cause breathing problems and increases the risk of lung infections. Over time, the lungs may stop working properly. Respiratory symptoms may include: * recurring chest infections * wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and damage to the airways (bronchiectasis) Digestive system symptoms may include: 1)Mucus clogging the pancreas (the organ that helps with digestion), which stops enzymes reaching food in the gut and helping with digestion. This means most people with cystic fibrosis don’t absorb nutrients from food properly and need to eat more calories to avoid malnutrition. * difficulty putting on weight and growing * jaundice * diarrhoea, constipation, or large, smelly poo, fatty stool * a bowel obstruction in newborn babies (meconium ileus) – surgery may be needed Other symptoms include: People with the condition can also develop a number of related conditions, including diabetes, thin, weakened bones (osteoporosis), infertility in males, and liver problems.
Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy products, and protein. In addition, people with CF have some specific nutritional needs to help them stay healthy and they may need more calories a day than others in their age group — that’s about 2,900 to 4,500 calories daily, depending on the individual. So they should eat calorie rich foods
They should avoid all diet foods. Whether eating at home or away
Things to watch out for
It’s critical to get treatment for cystic fibrosis right away. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for improving quality of life and lengthening the expected lifespan. Although people with the condition require daily care, they can still lead a relatively normal life and work or attend school. Screening tests and treatment methods have improved in recent years, so many people with cystic fibrosis can now live into their 40s and 50s.