About cystic fibrosis
A child or adult diagnosed with cystic fibrosis may require an initial stay in the hospital to begin treatment of certain drugs developed for this disease. Symptoms of cystic fibrosis can range from mild to severe and will be different for each patient. Most cystic fibrosis patients are diagnosed by the age of three but adults may be diagnosed also. Babies and toddlers may have varying symptoms such as chronic cough, frequent bouts of pneumonia, and persistent diarrhea. The child may not grow even though they are eating a healthy, regular diet and has a good appetite. Infants may also have intestinal blockage, swelling in the stomach, excess gassiness, and vomiting.
cystic fibrosis in older children
Older children may have different symptoms. They may have a recurring fever, frequent upper respiratory infections, persistent cough and difficulty breathing. They may also suffer from gastrointestinal distress with stomach pain, gassiness, and heavy, thick, bad smelling bowel movements. Sometimes an older child will have a barrel look in the chest area, flaring nostrils, and fingers and toes that widen and spread. Cystic fibrosis may also delay the onset of puberty in both boys and girls. There could be reproductive abnormalities especially in boys that are diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. A young woman may have no problems getting pregnant but may develop breathing trouble during her pregnancy.
There is no cure for cystic fibrosis but there are medical treatments and procedures for prolonging life and easing the symptoms of the disease. Lung and airway infections can be treated with prescription and non-prescription drugs. Bacterial infections of the lungs may be treated with prescribed antibiotics. Brand names include Nebcin, Tobrex, and Cipro. Antibacterial drugs may also be prescribed such as Mycobutin, Myambutol, Biaxin, Lamprene, and Azactam. These drugs may be taken by injection, by mouth, or inhaled in an aerosol form.
Inflammations caused by cystic fibrosis can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids. These anti-inflammatory drugs are available in over-the-counter drugs such as Advil, Motrin, or other drugs with ibuprofen. Prednisone is also prescribed for inflammation from cystic fibrosis. Drugs containing pentoxifyline has been effective for reducing inflammation in the air passages.
Inhalant machines are often prescribed for cystic fibrosis patients. The inhalant machines are used in conjunction with some of the drugs listed above or dornase alfa, which eases blockage. This nebulizer machine has been a good alternative for many cystic fibrosis patients.
Although there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, scientists and researchers are looking for new drugs and new treatments for treatment of this disease. Clinical trials are in progress on new prescription drugs that may prolong life and give a better quality of life to patients with cystic fibrosis. There are new mechanical ways of dislodging the thick mucus from the passageways and many more are being tested. Some mechanical devices are already available for use in daily chest physiotherapy. One of the newest is an inflatable vest, which gives a high frequency chest compression to loosen the music from the blocked passageways. Other mechanical devices may soon become available to the general public.