Cystic Fibrosis

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that causes thick, sticky

mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract. It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about the disease in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects mainly the lungs, the pancreas and the sweat glands. Some cystic fibrosis patients develop serious liver disease.

The abnormal gene changes the makeup of mucus in the airways, making it thick and sticky. The body cannot clear this thick mucus from the airways, leading to recurrent lung infections that are difficult to treat. Thick secretions also block other glands, causing them to function poorly.

Newborn screening programs can now lead to earlier diagnosis and therapy to limit the impact of the disease.

Treatment is specific to each problem caused by cystic fibrosis. Breathing treatments, drainage of lung secretions, exercise programs and antibiotics may be used to treat lung disease and infections. Oxygen may be used for more severe lung disease.

There is no cure for cystic fibrosis. However, treatment of its complications has improved so much in the last 50 years that survival and quality of life is much better than it was in the past.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.