Cystic Fibrosis

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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About 30,000 people in the United States have cystic fibrosis, or CF, and about 1,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed every year. CF is usually diagnosed when the affected person is very young, with 80 percent of diagnoses occurring in those under three years of age. However, about 10 percent of diagnoses happen in those people who are over 18 years of age.

CF is a genetic disease. In order to have CF, both parents have to be carriers of the disease. Although the number of people with CF is fairly small, the number of carriers is much higher. About 10 million Americans carry the defective gene which can lead to CF in their children if the other parent also carries the defective gene. People who carry the defective gene have no symptoms, and usually have no idea they carry the gene.

What Is Cystic Fibrosis?

People with CF produce very thick mucus. The mucus is extremely sticky, which causes it to clog the lungs. An important treatment of CF is clearing the lungs on a daily basis. CF sufferers often endure lung infections due to the clogging of their lungs. The infections can prove deadly. The average life expectancy of someone with CF is between 33 and 34 years of age.

People with CF also often have trouble keeping on weight. This is because the intensely thick mucus interferes with normal pancreatic functioning. The pancreas normally produces digestive enzymes that help food break down in the intestines. The mucus of a person with CF prevents this from happening, meaning that special attention needs to be paid to the nutrition of a CF sufferer's diet.

People with CF should also begin taking supplements to improve the health of their immune systems. Much evidence points to the powerful impact glutathione levels can have on the health of a person with CF. Glutathione is a tripeptide that naturally occurs in every cell of the human body. In those who are sick, glutathione levels tend to be low. Oral glutathione supplements are not effective, because glutathione is digested and broken down in the stomach, meaning very little actually reaches the bloodstream. It's important to take a precursor or building block of glutathione, and the most important of these is cysteine. Cysteine is best supplied by bioactive undenatured whey proteins. People with CF may benefit from undenatured whey proteins that raise their glutathione back up to a normal, healthy level.

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