Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month – May

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic illness which affects the digestive and respiratory systems. CF occurs in about one in 3500 live births. Many people carry the defective CF gene but have no symptoms.

The main symptom of cystic fibrosis is the production of a thick, sticky, mucus. This clogs the lungs leading to persistent coughing and frequent infections of the lung which can be life threatening. Thick, sticky mucus can also block the pancreas, preventing natural enzymes from properly digesting food. As less nourishment is absorbed by the body, this leads to complications including difficulty putting on weight and poor growth.

Other symptoms of cystic fibrosis include:

  • wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and damage to the airways (bronchiectasis)
  • yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • diarrhoea, constipation or large, smelly poo
  • a bowel obstruction in newborn babies (meconium ileus) – surgery may be needed.

CF can also lead to other related conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis (thin, weakened bones) infertility in males and liver problems.

Babies are now usually screened for cystic fibrosis, so the awareness campaigns are more focussed on providing support towards treatments and finding a cure.

To find out more or donate, take a look at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust website: Click here

I love their current slogan: ‘We were coughing before it went viral

Image credit: Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436., CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Parkinson’s Awareness Week (10th – 16th April 2022)

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological condition that affects the brain and much more. It is a long-term condition which usually gets worse over time. People with Parkinson’s disease experience a loss of nerve cells in the part of their brains responsible for controlling voluntary movements.

This part of the brain produces a chemical called dopamine which helps the communication of messages from the brain to the rest of the body via the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). As these cells are lost, people with Parkinson’s disease experience a loss of dopamine and the messages controlling movement stop being transmitted efficiently.

Many people think that Parkinson’s is a condition that only affects othe elderly. Although, it is more common in the older population, it can affect anyone at any age and there are thousands of people who have been diagnosed under the age of 40. Parkinson’s Disease seems to affect men more than women.

It is a condition which is of great significance for me as my father suffered with it and I know of other members of the family and of friends’ families who have suffered from it.

This week is Parkinson’s Awareness Week and you can find out more about it by clicking here.

Image credit: BruceBlaus. Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436., CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons