Cystic Fibrosis: A Genetic Disease that Affects Secretory Glands

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited and chronic disease that affects secretory glands, resulting in excessive production of salty sweat and mucus. While in a healthy individual mucus is slippery and watery substance, in Cystic Fibrosis patients, it is sticky and thick. The mucus production and accumulation damage the lungs, digestive tract, sex organs, and pancreases. The most Cystic Fibrosis features are chronic digestive system problems and progressive damage to the respiratory system.

Depending on the patient’s age and characteristic, the severity and symptoms of the disease vary. Usually, mucus blocks the airways, causing bacterial infections and breathing difficulties in the lungs. Over time, the disease can cause chronic inflammation, wheezing and coughing, develop into permanent damage to the lungs, the formation of scar tissue, and cysts in the lungs.

Cystic Fibrosis of occurs when there is an alteration in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) , a gene responsible for moving negatively charged particles called chloride ions out and into the cells. The element chloride is derived from sodium chloride. The component has important roles in a cell, such as regulating chloride ions that control the movement of water in tissue, a function that enables a healthy person to produce thin, freely flowing mucus. Due to the disease, the chloride does not properly control the flow of water and chloride ions through the cell. Consequently, cells near the lungs and other organs produce sticky and thick mucus.



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