Simply CF : It's Complicated
Cystic Fibrosis is a complex and sometimes confusing disease.
Each installment of Breathe 3-65 called,"Simply CF" will strive to explain the complexities of CF in a concise and accessible way.
CF is a complex disease that does not isolate itself to one specific area of the body. Its primary effects may manifest in the lungs and pancreas, but its devastation can be felt through every major system of the body.
The Lungs - Because of the defective CFTR protein talked about in the previous post, “Simply CF : The Cause Of It All”, the body produces a thick sticky mucus that clogs the airways and respiratory system. This thick mucus is a perfect environment for deadly bacteria and infection to thrive leading to clogged airways, scarring, excessive and recurrent respiratory infections, and decreased lung function.
The Pancreas - Sticky and thick mucus cause plugging in ducts of the pancreas, preventing the release of normal enzymes to aid in digestion and absorption of fats and proteins. This can result in malnourishment and a failure to thrive. Some people with CF have difficulty gaining and maintaining a healthy weight.
Sweat glands - A loss of too much salt through a person with CF's sweat causes an imbalance of vital minerals and dehydration in the body.
Much More - Because these main organs and systems are directly affected by cystic fibrosis, secondary complications can arise in other vital organs and systems in the body: cardiovascular system, reproductive system, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, CFRD (Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes), bowel obstructions, increased risks of cancer, sinusitis and nasal polyps, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
CF is a complex and complicated disease that manifests itself differently in every person diagnosed. The disease affects each person in so many different ways making treatment of the same disease in two different people a challenge. It is so important that new treatments continue to be researched and studied - giving insight into CF's complexity that may lead to life-altering treatments for each unique person with CF.
Source: John Hopkins CF Center- hopkinscf.org