What is Cystic
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you what Cystic
Fibrosis (CF) is, to share with you what a child and their families go through,
and to tell you how YOU can help these children and young adults.
Fibrosis is a genetic disease affecting approximately
30,000 children and adults in the United States.
One in 31 Americans (one in 28 Caucasians) - more than 10 million
people - is an unknowing, symptomless carrier of the defective gene.
An individual must inherit a defective copy of the CF gene -one from
each parent - to have cystic fibrosis. Each time two carriers conceive a
child; there is a 25 percent chance that the child will have CF; a 50
percent chance that the child will be a carrier; and a 25 percent chance
that the child will be a non-carrier. CF causes the body to produce abnormally thick, sticky mucus,
due to the faulty transport of sodium and chloride (salt) within cells
lining organs such as the lungs and pancreas, to their outer surfaces.
The thick CF mucus also obstructs the pancreas, preventing enzymes from
reaching the intestines to help break down and digest food.
vary. The most common are: very salty-tasting skin; persistent
coughing, wheezing or pneumonia; excessive appetite but poor weight gain;
and bulky, foul smelling stools. The Sweat Test is the standard diagnostic
test for cystic fibrosis. This simple and painless test measures the amount
of salt in the sweat. A high salt level indicates that a person has CF.
Test is a simple, diagnostic procedure that determines the
amount of sodium and chloride (salt) in the sweat. In the first part of the
test, a colorless, odorless chemical, known to cause sweating, is applied to
a small area on the arm or leg. An electrode is then attached to stimulate a
weak electrical current to the area. Individuals may feel a tingling
sensation in the area, or a feeling of warmth. This part of the procedure
lasts approximately five minutes. The second part of the test consists of
cleaning the stimulated area and collecting the sweat on a piece of filter
paper or in a plastic coil. Thirty minutes later, the collected sweat is
sent to a hospital laboratory for analysis. The entire procedure takes
approximately one hour.
Children and adults with CF have an increased amount of sodium and
chloride (salt) in their sweat. In individuals who have CF, the sweat
chloride test will be abnormal from birth. Once a test result is positive,
it is always positive. Sweat test values do not change from positive to
negative or negative to positive, as a person grows older. Sweat test values
also do not vary when individuals have colds or other temporary illnesses.
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