CYSTIC FIBROSIS (CF)
Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary genetic disease. A mutation of the CF gene causes an alteration in a protein called CFTR present in all the organs and regulates the exchange of sodium chloride and water through cell membranes. The organs most affected by the disease are the lungs and the pancreas; in the former, thick, sticky secretions occur, thus creating the ideal environment for the development of bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This means that sufferers are prone to recurrent infections and inflammation, which can, in turn, also represent severe conditions such as pneumonia.
Chronic inflammatory processes can damage lung tissue over time and subsequently lead to impaired respiratory function, which is the leading cause of mortality in these patients. The symptoms of infection are numerous, and the degree of severity varies from case to case and from moment to moment:
- Persistent cough.
- Breathing difficulties.
- Reduced stamina for physical activity.
- Loss of appetite.
- A sense of feeling generally unwell and fever.