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Cystic Fibrosis

            "Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease that usually appears during early childhood. This generalized disorder of the exocrine glands is characterized by respiratory problems and excessive loss of salt in perspiration (Hardman, Drew, Egan, 2002, p.508)." This is a disorder of secretion glands, which produces abnormal amounts of mucus, sweat, and salvia. The three major organ systems that are affected are: the pancreas, lungs and the sweet glands. Cystic fibrosis also affects the respiratory and digestive systems. This disease is not contagious, and affects each person differently. Nowadays, improvements in dietary supplements and better treatments can lead to a fairly normal life. .
             The name cystic fibrosis describes the changes that occur in the pancreas, usually starting at an early age. It is usually diagnosed soon after birth, and symptoms occur throughout life. The disease occurs in about 30,000 Americans, mostly children and young adults (Waldholz, 1990). Cystic fibrosis causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus, which builds up clogging the lungs and impending breathing and digestion. In many cases, children with cystic fibrosis do not appear to be suffering from a serious disorder. Inconspicuous physical symptoms may be: persistent coughing and wheezing, excessive appetite with poor weight gain, salty or sweaty skin, respiratory infections, like pneumonia, protruding abdomen, enlarged finger tips and bulky, foul smelling stools (Harris & Super, 1995). .
             In order to inherit cystic fibrosis, a child must receive two cystic fibrosis genes, one from each parent. Each time two carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene conceive a child, there is a 25 percent chance the child will inherit cystic fibrosis. In many cases we can now tell if a person carries a defective cystic fibrosis gene by directly testing his or her genetic material (Harris & Super, 1995).
             Most likely, the condition of a student with cystic fibrosis is generally fair to good, allowing him or her to attend school on a regular basis.

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