What Is Cystic Fibrosis?
Mucus may be gross, but it is also very important. Mucus helps to line the surface of various parts of our bodies internally. This helps to protect delicate tissues against damage and also help to protect us against pathogens. Mucus is also important in aiding in various bodily functions.
Mucus is usually quite thin, but a condition known as cystic fibrosis can cause our mucus to become much thicker than usual. When this happens, the mucus can cause tubes and other passageways to become blocked, and this has the potential to cause serious problems. Although life expectancy in people with the condition is improving, patients are still likely to have their lives cut short.
Cycstic fibrosis is caused by a mutation in a gene. It is passed down from parents and the patient has to have one copy of the faulty gene from each of their parents. Somebody will not have cystic fibrosis if they only have a copy of the gene from one parent. They will, however, be a carrier of the gene.
The gene in question is known as the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene. The gene is responsible for a protein that helps to regulate levels of salt in our cells. The patient ends up with a sticky mucus in the respiratory tract. The reproductive system and digestive systems are also affected.