Cystic Fibrosis Essay

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Cystic Fibrosis is a severe hereditary disease that infects the lungs, digestive system, sweat

glands and male fertility. The name Cystic Fibrosis derives from the Fibrous scar tissue that

develops in the pancreas. First recognized in 1938, cystic fibrosis is generalized as an autosomal

recessive disorder of the exocrine glands. About one in every 2500 Caucasians is affected, and

one in 25 is a carrier of the cystic fibrosis gene. Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal

hereditary disorder of Caucasians in the United States and is the most common cause of chronic

lung disease in children and young adults. Approximately 38,000 children and young adults in the

United States today. About 3,000 babies are born
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Few people know they are

carriers unless they have family history of the disease. Two white Americans with no family

history of CF have a one in 2500 chance of having a child with CF (Berhow 245).

     The most severe effects of cystic fibrosis are seen in two body systems; the gastrointestinal

(digestive) system and the respiratory tract. CF also affects male fertility and the sweat glands.

Effects in the digestive system are often the first to appear. About fifteen percent of babies who

inherit CF have meconium ileus at birth. Meconium is the first dark stool that the baby produces

after birth. Ileus is an obstruction of the digestive tract (Claymen 437). Meconium, the dark

green stool, is thick and sticky, due to the presence of thickened mucus from the intestinal glands.

Meconium ileus causes abdominal swelling and vomiting. The presence of meconium ileus is

highly indicative of CF. Babies who have meconium ileus almost always develop symptoms of

CF. The respiratory tract includes the nose, the throat and the windpipe. Nasal polyps,

Bronchitis, pneumonia and shortness of breath are frequent recurring respiratory problems in

someone with CF (Claymen 438)

     The first symptom of CF in infants without meconium ileus, is often poor weight gain at 4

to 6
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