ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms and Treatment

Updated on February 14, 2010

Fibrocystic disease of the pancreas, commonly called cystic fibrosis, is an inherited disease that first appears in childhood and is characterized by chronic lung disease, a deficiency of pancreatic enzymes, and an abnormally high concentration of salt in the sweat. Although it is a generalized body disease, it was misnamed "cystic fibrosis of the pancreas" because changes in the pancreas attracted the attention of the early investigators. Technically, the disease is known as mucoviscidosis.

The carrier rate in the population is about 5 per cent and the disease appears in about 1 per 2000 persons. The abnormal gene in some way determines a malfunction of many of the secreting glands of the body, particularly those producing mucus and digestive juices. The prominent involvement of the pancreas led to the disease being known as fibrocystic disease of the pancreas. The abnormal glandular secretions are excessively viscid and result in blockage of the small ducts and failure of the digestive juices to reach the intestine, with consequent difficulty in digesting food. In the lungs the viscid mucus plugs the small air passages, which predisposes to repeated infections and progressive damage, eventually leading to death in early adult life.

In cystic fibrosis the products of the exocrine glands have a variety of abnormalities. In particular, mucus, which ordinarily helps lubricate and protect many body surfaces, is so thick that it often obstructs the bronchi and other organ passages. This widespread obstruction gives rise to most of the symptoms and anatomical findings in the disease. The sweat glands are affected in a different way- they produce sweat that has an abnormally high salt content.

Cystic fibrosis is due to an inborn error of metabolism that is inherited as a recessive trait. In families where both parents are carriers, approximately 25% of all the offspring will have the disease, although the incidence may vary from one family to the next. The disease is relatively common among Caucasians, unusual among Negroes, and very rare in Mongolians. In the United States about 1 in every 2,000 children is born with the disease, and 5% of the population are carriers. In the days before antibiotics, patients succumbed to bronchopneumonia or malnutrition, and the underlying cause was not recognized. Cystic fibrosis is now known to be one of the most common chronic diseases of children in the United States. A diagnosis of cystic fibrosis should be suspected whenever a child has chronic or recurrent bronchitis or when malnutrition is present despite an adequate diet. The diagnosis may be confirmed through an analysis of the patient's sweat.

There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, and the treatment is aimed at relieving the patient's symptoms. Dietary restrictions counteract the lack of pancreatic enzymes, and in hot weather the patient is given additional salt to replace that which is lost through profuse sweating. The treatment of lung disorders includes the administration of antibiotics to combat infection, breathing exercises and other physical therapy measures, and the inhalation of certain solutions to help remove mucus from the bronchi.

With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the life span of patients with cystic fibrosis is greatly increased. Although many patients die in childhood, others reach early adulthood and are able to lead fairly normal lives.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Health-n-Fitness profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing that Artour!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)