Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common inherited illness among Americans of northern and western European ancestry, affecting some 30,000 people. Although it occurs in people of all ethnic backgrounds, it is far more common in Causasians (an estmated incidence of 1 in 2,400) than in African-Americans (1 in 17,000). It occures with approximately equal frequency in men and women.
CF is caused by a defect in a gene that encodes instructions for a protein that regulates the passage of salt in and out of the cells of the body’s exocrine glands. In most people with CF, the genetic instructions omit just one of the protien’s 1,480 constituent amino acids a tiny glitch, but a devastating one that affects many different glands in the body, including the pancrease, sweat glands, and glands of the digestive and respiratory systems.
Symptoms of CF begin early in life. Glands in the lungs and bronchial tubes secrete large quantities of thick, sticky mucus that blocks lung passages and traps harmful bacteria, resulting in chronic caughing and wheezing, difficulty breathing, and recurrent lung infections. Thick secretions also often obstruct the release of pancreatic enzymes, resulting in digestive difficulties nad malalbasorptio problems, particularly problmes with the metabolism problems, particularly problmes with the malabasorption problems, particularly problmes with th emetabolism of fats. Malnutriton may result because a lack of necessary digestive enzymes means that because a lack of necessary digestive enzymes means that nutrients from foods are not properly absorbed. This in turn can cause pain after eating and, especially in young children, a failure to gain weight normally.
Persons with this disease also lose excessive amounts of salt through their sweat glands. Sweating may be profuse , and the sweat itself contains abnormally high concentrations of sodium, potassium, nad chloride salts. Other signs suggestive of CF include clubbing of the fingers and toes (a result of poor circulation) infertility greasy, bulky, foulsmelling stools, and salty-tasting skin. An individual may have any or all of thise symptoms.
The gene responsible for CF was identified in 1989. All human cells ( except red blood cells, eggs, and sperm) contain two copies of this gene, on einherited from each parent. CF results when both copies of the “CF gene’ are abnormal. If one copy is abnormal and the other normal, an individual is said to be a carrier he or she will show no signs of CF, but is capable of passing a defective gene on to offspring. A child of two carrier parents has a 1-in-4 chance of inheritin CF, a 1-in-4 chance of being completely free of the mutant gene and a 1-in-2 chance of being a carrier, like the parents. About 8 million people in the US may be carriers.
The identification of the CF gene has enabled researchers to begin developing new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of the disease. A test is now available in which cells are swabbed from the inside of the cheek and then examined for the presence of defective genes. The presence of both normal and mutant CF genes are there, CF is indicated.
The most widely used test for CF is the electrolyte sweat test. It detects the excessive amounts of electrolytes (charged mineral salts) found on the skin of many people with CF. a physician would likely recommned that a sweat test be performed on a child who failed to gain weight despite adequate feeding, or who suffered from very frequent respiratory infections. CF testing is currently recommended only for those individuals with symptoms highly suggestive of the disease, or with a family history of the disorder.
Unless otherwise specified, the dosages recommended here are for adults. For a child between the ages of tweleve and seventeen, reduce the dose to three-quarters the recommended amount. For a child between six and twelve, use one-half the recommended dose,j and for a child under the age of six, use on-quarter the recommended amount.
Eat a diet consisting of 75 percent raw fruits and vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds.
Make sure your intake of calories, protein, and other nutrients is adequte. People with CF require as much as 50 percent more of many nutrients than normal. Take supplements to provider required enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.
Include in the diet foods that are high in germanium, such as garlic, shiitake mushrooms, an donions. Germanium helps to improve tissue oxygenation at the cellular level.
During hot weather, drink plety of fluids and increase your salt intake.
Do not eat foods that stimulate secretions by the mucous membranes. Cooked and processed foods cause excess mucus buildup and drain the body of energy. These foods are harder to digest. Do not eat animal products, dairy products, processed foods, sugar, or white flour products.
When you must take antibiotics, take acidophilus to replace “friendly’ bacteria.