Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disabling disease which is chronic and in some cases lethal. It most commonly affects lungs and pancreas. Still other organs can be affected as well. Organs that are not functioning correctly in cystic fibrosis are responsible for production of mucus, sweat or digestive juices. There is increased production of sticky secretions which cannot be excreted properly hence they tend to linger within organs or excretion canal leading to complications and additional problems. Caucasians are most affected by the disease. Today thanks to excellent screening and genetic testing the disease can be established even during pregnancy.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease which leads to majority of complications. They almost always affect lungs, gastrointestinal tract and reproductive organs.
Because mucus stays longer within bronchia and cannot be removed properly people suffering from cystic fibrosis are prone to chronic infections such as chronic bronchitis and so. In severe cases the infection does not even go away and these people are under permanent therapy with antibiotics. Bronchiectasis is another serious complication. In rather rare cases a combination of the previous two may lead to collapse of lungs. In cystic fibrosis nasal polyps tends to form more often. They can start growing within nasal cavity or in sinuses. All in all the function of lungs deteriorates in time and these people end up with only one solution to their problems- lung transplantation.
Problems with gastrointestinal tract are connected to improper functioning of pancreas and other glands that are in charge of mucus and enzyme production. Enzymes produced by pancreas cannot reach intestines therefore one cannot absorb food properly. This results in malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Diabetes and pancreatitis occur rather often. The duct that has a role of bile excretion can get plugged with the sticky mucus and leads to serious problems with liver such as cirrhosis. These people are more prone to gallbladder stones and intussusceptions as well. Even rectal prolapse may happen because one is subjected to chronic cough and this strenuous activity leads to prolonged and increased abdominal pressure.
Men suffering from cystic fibrosis are mostly sterile. Women show higher percentage of fertility though it may be a problem for a woman to conceive.
Additional complications include osteoporosis due to decreased absorption of vitamin D and disturbed balance of electrolytes. People suffering from cystic fibrosis tend to excrete more salt in their sweat than normal people. This fact is used in diagnosis of the disease before additional invasive methods are used.