What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, genetic condition that affects digestion and breathing. A primary symptom of cystic fibrosis is thick, sticky mucus that clog the airways in the lungs, causing inflammation and respiratory infections. Children with cystic fibrosis also struggle to gain weight in spite of a healthy appetite and have salty tasting skin.
Cystic fibrosis is progressive and difficult to manage, requiring ongoing medical care. Symptoms may come and go and can range from mild to severe. Children with cystic fibrosis often take numerous prescription medication, and parents are often required to be actively involved in their care. Not only do parents have to monitor the child’s reaction to medication, they also often have to go through a routine of chest therapy that necessitates thumping the child’s chest with a cupped hand for an extended period of time.
Early diagnosis is essential
Newborn screening programs can detect 10% of cases. Sweat tests and genetic tests are often ordered if a child isn’t growing adequately. Cystic fibrosis prevents the body from absorbing nutrients well, so kids with cystic fibrosis are often undernourished and smaller than their peers.
Learn How to Help Kids Like Aaron!
The Good News
Is there hope for kids with cystic fibrosis?
Children with cystic fibrosis can live lives similar to their peers without cystic fibrosis, depending on the severity of the condition. Researchers are working to develop treatment options, and advancements continue to improve the quality of life for people with cystic fibrosis.
What challenges come with having a child with cystic fibrosis?
Treatments and medical appointments require a time commitment by both kids and caregivers, limiting normal childhood activities. The current lifespan for someone with cystic fibrosis is 37 years for women and 40 years for men.