Cystic Fibrosis – A Little-Known Condition Plaguing Thousands of Kids
Imagine waking up in the morning feeling as if you’re drowning, unable to breathe normally. Imagine coughing and hacking up mucus all day long to the point of exhaustion. Sadly, this is the reality of children with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes the body to produce a thick, sticky mucous that clogs up the lungs and airways of those who suffer with it.
The disorder also affects the digestive system, as the mucous also coats the stomach, leaving the body ill-equipped to properly digest food and get optimal nutrition. Between this issue and the increased calorie needs due to constant coughing and breathing issues, kids with cystic fibrosis can often have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
Cystic fibrosis is a relatively rare genetic disorder that occurs only when both parents carry the gene. The life expectancy for a person with CF is mid-30s, as of 2009. Fortunately, the age is rising, thanks to advances in treatment options.
How is CF Treated?
There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis. A number of treatments are used to alleviate the symptoms and promote well-being, however.
• Airway clearance and breathing exercises.
• Antibiotics to fight infection.
• Anti-inflammatory medications to improve breathing.
• Mucus-thinning drugs.
These types of treatments improve CF symptoms, but unfortunately those with the condition will live with it for life until a cure is found.
How Can I Help?
If you’re looking to help in the cause for finding a cure, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation suggests a few ways that you can do so:
• Make a donation. Donations fund scientific research toward curing cystic fibrosis.
• Participate in a clinical trial. Similarly, you can help out with research in a more hands-on way by participating in studies on CF treatments.
• Become an advocate. Influence your local government and spread awareness by becoming an advocate.
This is the season for giving and yet it’s important to remember that CF has no season. People suffer with this desease all year round. Reach out to a local chapter to learn more, you may be able to help. Enjoy the holiday season and may every step you take be healthy.