How Cystic Fibrosis Affects the Reproductive System - Topic Overview
In men, cystic fibrosis may affect the development of the vas deferens, which is the tube that carries sperm. The tube can also become blocked with mucus. Sperm are still made, but they are not released during ejaculation. This results in an inability to father children (infertility).Although cystic fibrosis does not affect the development of the reproductive organs in women, thick mucus makes fertilization of the egg difficult. But most women who have this disease can become pregnant. Before a woman who has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis becomes pregnant, she should discuss with her doctor the risks, what to expect, and other issues. Many women who have cystic fibrosis have successful pregnancies, but they need close monitoring because of their nutritional status and the extra strain on their lungs.If you have cystic fibrosis and are thinking about getting pregnant, be sure to talk openly with your doctor about it. You may also want to consider genetic testing for you and your
How Cystic Fibrosis Affects Breathing and the Lungs - Topic Overview
Normal lung and respiratory functionThe breathing tubes, or bronchi, leading to the air sacs (alveoli) are lined with cells that produce mucus. Normally, the cells produce a thin, runny mucus that coats the surface of the lungs.Foreign particles, such as dust and germs, constantly enter the lungs and become trapped in the mucus. Tiny hairs called cilia on the surface of the breathing tubes sweep the mucus and foreign particles upward into the larger air passages and then up to the throat where they can be swallowed or coughed up.Effects of cystic fibrosis on lung and respiratory functionCystic fibrosis causes the mucus that coats the breathing tubes to become so thick and sticky that the cilia are unable to sweep the germs and other particles up and out of the lungs. The trapped bacteria lead to frequent, serious infections and permanent lung damage.In response to infections, the body's immune system sends white blood cells to the lungs to attempt to destroy the infection. White blood
How Cystic Fibrosis Affects the Sweat Glands - Topic Overview
Cystic fibrosis can lower the normal salt levels in the body, which can lead to a variety of short- and long-term problems.Sweat glands cool the body by releasing perspiration (sweat) from the lower layers of the skin onto the surface. Sodium and chloride (salt) help carry water to the skin's surface and are then reabsorbed into the body. As the water evaporates, heat is carried away, and the body cools.In people who have cystic fibrosis, the salt travels to the skin's surface with the water and is not reabsorbed. Because of this, the skin of a child who has cystic fibrosis is abnormally salty. Parents may notice salty-tasting skin when they kiss the child. People who have cystic fibrosis can become quickly depleted of salts, especially when the weather is hot, when they exercise strenuously, or when they have a fever. Low salt levels in the body lead to fatigue, weakness, fever, muscle cramps, stomach pain, vomiting, dehydration, and heatstroke. To avoid these conditions, people who
How Cystic Fibrosis Affects the Bones - Topic Overview
Many people who have cystic fibrosis have low bone mineral density, because they have problems absorbing vitamin D and calcium, which are necessary for strong and healthy bones. Low bone mineral density can make a person who has cystic fibrosis more likely to have bone fractures or to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis in adulthood.Routine dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) tests can check the density and strength of your bones. Spending small amounts of time in the sun, exercising, taking vitamins, and eating nutritious foods can help prevent bone problems. People who have cystic fibrosis may also have painful or swollen joints (arthralgia or arthritis) from time to time. Often these joint problems do not last more than a week and any pain can usually be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
How Cystic Fibrosis Affects Digestion and the Pancreas - Topic Overview
Cystic fibrosis often affects the pancreas and digestive system because the mucus in these areas becomes thick and sticky. If this occurs, the mucus blocks normal digestive function as well as harbors infection.The digestive system is responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients from the food, and ridding the body of waste products. The pancreas is an organ that is located in the upper abdomen, behind the stomach and close to the spine. It produces digestive enzymes, which travel to the intestines and break down (digest) food so that nutrients can be absorbed by the body. Cystic fibrosis and digestionIn cystic fibrosis, mucus clogs the pancreas, and digestive enzymes are not able to get to the intestine. So food is not properly digested, particularly fats and proteins. A related symptom is large, greasy, smelly stools. Lack of nutrition prevents normal growth and development in babies and children. Unhealthy weight loss and difficulty gaining or maintaining weight are
Bronchiectasis - Topic Overview
What is bronchiectasis?Bronchiectasis (say brawn-kee-ECK-tuh-sus) is a lung problem in which the breathing tubes (airways) in the lungs are stretched and become larger. It starts when your airways are damaged. The damage may be caused by another health problem—usually cystic fibrosis—or a lung infection such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. Other causes include whooping cough and autoimmune problems, such as AIDS. Bronchiectasis can also be congenital, which means you were born with it.The damaged airways have a hard time getting rid of mucus (sputum), so the mucus builds up. This causes the airways to stretch and can lead to swelling and repeated infections. Each time you get an infection, your airways are further damaged. It may become harder and harder to breathe.Even though there’s no cure for the disease, there are things you can do at home to manage your symptoms and live a full life.What are the symptoms?Symptoms are different for everyone. But common symptoms include: A
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