WHAT IS CYSTIC FIBROSIS?
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder.
It is a disease that is passed down through families and is caused by a genetic mutation.
In a healthy person, mucus that lines organs and body cavities(like respiratory and digestive tract) is slippery and watery. In people who have CF, thick mucus clogs the airways and makes it difficult to breathe. Blocking the ducts in the pancreas causes problems with digesting food, so it gets difficult to absorb nutrients from food.
Other organs that are affected by CF are the liver, sinuses, intestines and sex organs. CF is a chronic (long-lasting) and progressive (getting worse over time) condition.
It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults
- Race: mostly seen in caucasians(europeans). It is extremely rare in India.
- Sex: CF is diagnosed in males and females equally.
- Genetics: occurs in a child when both parents have the defective gene.
Damaged airways, chronic lung infections, nasal polyps, haemoptysis, respiratory failure, diabetes, intestinal obstruction, thinning of bones(osteoporosis) etc.
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
CF symptoms vary from person to person.
Symptoms often appear in infancy and childhood such as bowel obstruction due to meconium ileus in newborns.
A person with mild disease may be asymptomatic or symptoms may appear once in a while or they may occur regularly.
Children who have CF have the following symptoms:
- Failure to thrive (inability to gain weight despite having a good appetite and taking in enough calories)
- Loose or oily stools
- Trouble breathing
- Recurrent wheezing
- Frequent lung infections (recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis)
- Recurrent sinus infections
- A nagging cough
- Slow growth
- Impaired digestion and absorption of proteins, carbohydrates and fat.
- Diabetes mellitus I
- Salty sweat
- clubbing(rounded fingernails)
- Intestinal obstruction, rectal prolapse.
- Genitourinary problems (male and female infertility)
OTHER ASSOCIATIVE CONDITIONS
- Salt depletion
- Nasal polyps
- Rectal prolapse
- Insulin dependent diabetes(type I)
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
On coming first to the doctor, patient’s medical history is taken. Patients general health is observed accompanied by a thorough physical examination.
Lab tests that help in diagnosing CF :
- Sweat test- sweat chloride value will be more than 60mEq/l
- Genetic test- direct examination of DNA molecule of affected child
- Chest X ray- lung fibrosis and scarring can be seen.
- Sinus X ray: sinus X-rays can confirm CF in patients who show certain symptoms.
- Sputum culture: Certain bacteria, such as pseudomonas, are most commonly found in people who have CF.
Conventional treatment mainly includes antibiotics, decongestants, bronchodilators and mucolytics. Physical therapy and exercises are also helpful.
- Preventing and controlling lung infections.
- Loosening and removing thick sticky mucus from respiratory passages.
- Preventing and treating blockage of intestines
- Providing enough nutrition and preventing dehydration.
It is vital that people with CF receive appropriate treatments to enable them to live longer, healthier lives. Homoeopathic medicines for cystic fibrosis is selected based on indivdualisation of case and symptom similarity. Some common remedies are: aconite, bryonia, belladonna, calcarea carb, kali sulph, hepar sulph etc.
For final treatment and remedy selection in each case, you should consult a qualified homoeopathic doctor.
DO’S AND DON’TS
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat nutritious food with plenty of fluids.
- Take probiotics to get help with digestive issues
- Exercise regularly as it will help you with your general health, make your lungs and heart muscles stronger as well as loosen the mucus in airways.
- Avoid polluted air, wear masks when going outside.
- Maintain proper hygiene to avoid getting new infections.
- Avoid smoke, pollen, strong odors and mold whenever possible. These irritants can make symptoms worse.