A defect in a certain gene that is popularly referred to as Cystic fibrosis transmembrane –conductance regulator or CFTR, brings about the condition known as Cystic Fibrosis. People of European descent are known to have this problem in the ratio of 1: 25. However, it is not likely to attack most people, as it may occur only if both parents have this gene and the chances are perhaps 1, out of 3,000 people which roughly totals to about 25% chances for 1out of 625 people. CF is not so common for people who are not of European descent.
Since our genes differ from race to race, Cystic Fibrosis can affect us in different way. The medication for this disease will also vary for different racial groups. The main requirements for avoiding this type of issue, is a well balanced diet and good amount of exercise, as this is a common ground for all types when trying to promote fitness.
Various symptoms are manifested with Cystic Fibrosis. The liver, pancreas and the epithelial cells, which line the lungs, as well as the reproductive tract and skin, transport chloride ions. The concentration of chloride ion differs, both inside, as well as outside the cell that is not normal. This occurs due to the concentration of abnormal chloride concentration which tends to produce less watery and sticky mucus. The pancreas and lungs get affected. When the sweat glands start producing excess chloride within the skin, it is necessary to carry out the test, to check on the CF levels.
Lung problems are the result of blockages to the smaller airways because of sticky mucus which causes difficulty in breathing. Microbes that are present are not easily eradicated. The mucus becomes more viscous as it is unable to pass though the airways as it normally does like the travelator. People suffering with CF find it difficult to eliminate the microbes which firmly get established in the lungs. The result is that it brings about an inflammatory response that is chronic and slowly leads to scarring (fibrosis) or tissue and cyst formation. This is how “cystic fibrosis” occurs. The treatment for lung problems, is inhaling substances that cause dilations of the bronchioles, in the form of steroids. Ibuprofen works well to reduce inflammation.
These microbes that are present in people, who suffer from CF, may cause harm to others therefore it is not advisable they mingle with others. People with CF used to share their inhalers which were also a dangerous life threatening practice.
The juice that is created by the pancreas helps to digest foods as they help to absorb the nutrients. However, when people contract CF, the sticky much blocks the enzymes in the pancreatic juice from breaking down proteins, carbohydrates, as well as fats. While bread, cakes and pasta (carbohydrates) and chicken, soya and tuna (proteins) can be chopped into small pieces, it is difficult to break down fats for easy digestion. The enzymes gastric lipase and lingual lipase may be able to break down a little fat in the mouth as well as stomach. However they do not work effectively to break down fats so that they are easily absorbed. People who suffer from CF therefore lack in these important fatty acids and some vitamins that are fat soluble.
The best course of action therefore is to exercise. Strength and cardiovascular exercises are recommended strongly for people who suffer with CF. The advantages are that the airways get cleared in the lungs. When oxygen supply improves, the bacteria that get lodged in the lungs do not increase and multiply. This makes it easier for patients to breathe since the capacity of the lungs increase. Patients are able to get their strength up with endurance. The lung infection, together with the deficiency in nutrition, reduces endurance though one can exercise to the best of their ability. Patients should try to perform exercises, such as weight bearing and cardiovascular exercise, which involves shifting weights or by using bodyweight. The patient is able to eat more nutritional foods as they start to feel hungry. The bone density also increases and this is very necessary, as most of them suffer, when the bones become weak, due to lack of vitamins K and D in their systems.
People who suffer with Cystic Fibrosis should eat foods that contain a variety of nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, K & E and should include fatty acids, as well as salt, essentially in their diets. It is not clear whether calcium is required, or if one has to supplement vitamins that are fat soluble as this issue is still being debated. Vitamins that are fat soluble can be absorbed by the enzyme supplements that are pancreatic. The best recourse for people who have CF is to eat foods in sufficient quantities that are listed below.
People who have CF should eat more food than normal people, as the lack of pancreatic digestive enzymes, prevent proper absorptions from the gut. Omega 3 and 6 should be included as essential fats as they contain good sources of fatty acids. People can opt for omega 3 fats easily by including oily fish like salmon, trout, pilchards, sardines and kippers in their diet. The other important supplement is cod liver oil that has good omega 3 contents. It may be easy to include Omega 6 fats as these are easily available in our modern diets. Protein should be taken in sufficient amounts as it is not absorbed easily. Protein helps children to grow and adults to maintain and repair their bodies. Therefore one should eat plenty of fish, meat and dairy products to get protein. Foods that contain carbohydrates supply good energy though one should restrict the amount as it causes sharp spikes in the blood sugar levels which may end up with problems, such as glucose intolerance and diabetes. Foods such as bread, rice, pasta and potato are starchy foods that need to be consumed in moderation though one has to ensure that they eat the basic minimum.
Vitamin A is vital for production of red blood cells, boosting the immunity system, aiding good vision and normal growth. You can get this in high doses when you eat liver. It is also available in dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt and eggs. You get vitamin A when you eat vegetables that are dark green and also yellow as they contain beta carotene in good amounts. This is an important vitamin that should be taken daily.
Vitamin D is very important for promoting good bones and also works to boost the immunity system, our general growth and cardio health. You can get this when you eat good amounts of liver, though natural sunshine is great, for getting enough of this vitamin. People who perform outdoor exercises will find that they benefit greatly when their airways clear and they get vitamin D, which is good when they suffer from CF.
Vitamin E is available in foods, such as seeds, nuts and most of the oils derived from these foods contain generous amounts of Vitamin E. Margarine, avocados, egg yolks as well as green leafy vegetables will give you vitamin E. Check the oils from nuts and seed as well as margarine as they also contain unhealthy trans-fats. Try to opt for peanut butter and similar nut butters that may prove healthier sources of vitamin E. Palm oil does not contain as much Trans fats as safflower, sunflower, or most vegetable oils. Read the labels before purchasing oils. It is safer to eat the seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables and avocados with peanut butter, rather than go in for their oils to ensure good supply of vitamin E.
Vitamin K is excellent for prevention of blood clots and uncontrolled bleeding. Your bones become stronger and form well. You can get vitamin K in chard, kale, green leafy vegetables, parsley and broccoli.
People who suffer from CF tend to sweat profusely and lose salt from their bodies. It may help to take salty snacks though this is not normally advised for healthy people. However, patients tend to perspire excessively, when they exercise, or are subjected to hot weather. Olives, as well as oily fish, are good sources of normal salt. Breads that are commercially produced also contain salt. Infants should not be given these foods as they may be subject to salt poisoning at this delicate age.
People with CF, may not require eating too much calcium as they are prone to getting kidney stones, when they are afflicted with this problem. If excess of calcium is taken, it may lead to production of stones, such as calcium oxalate due to super saturation of the kidneys. It is true though that people who have CF find that their bones become weaker and may need to take calcium for strengthening them. This particular issue is under much debate and no conclusive evidence has been found on the topic of whether taking calcium is good or not for people who suffer with CF.