Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

A child being tested for cystic fibrosis.May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. During this time, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is working to provide important information about this disease for our patients, including its symptoms, potential complications, and current available treatments. 

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease that affects the mucus-producing cells in your body.  CF occurs when there is a mutation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. This mutation disables cells from moving chloride (a component of salt) to their surfaces. Without the movement of chloride, cells cannot hydrate properly, causing your body to produce thicker, stickier mucus.

The buildup of heavy mucus caused by CF can damage the digestive system, lungs, and other organs that depend on mucus to function by obstructing the ducts, tubes or passageways of these organs. Those living with cystic fibrosis also often have abnormally high levels of salt in their sweat. Other symptoms that may develop as a result of the disease include:

  • Frequent lung infections, such as recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Persistent cough with thick mucus
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal polyps
  • Fatigue
  • Delayed growth or puberty
  • Bowel movements that produce greasy, bulky stool
  • Severe constipation
  • Male infertility

All babies born in the United States are screened for cystic fibrosis by testing small blood samples. If someone is suspected to have CF, their doctor can also order a sweat test to determine if their chloride levels are normal.

Currently, there is no cure for CF; treatment generally focuses on alleviating symptoms and reducing complications. Treatment may include: 

  • Medications, such as antibiotics for lung infections, anti-inflammatory medications, stool softeners, mucus-thinning drugs, medications that assist in nutrient absorption, and medications that treat gene mutations
  • Physical therapy
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Surgery

To learn more about cystic fibrosis or to make an appointment with a pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call (718) 206-7126.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Should You Speak to a Genetic Counselor Before Getting Pregnant?

Choosing to start a family can be a complex decision for many. You need to balance your desire to have a baby with an assortment of real-life concerns about raising one. For some, a real concern is the risk of passing on a genetic disorder to their child. If this is an issue for you, a genetic counselor can be helpful.

Genetic or “hereditary” conditions are diseases that run in families. If you or your partner has a parent or grandparent with one of these types of conditions, there is an increased chance that your baby is predisposed to developing it as well. 

couple meets with a genetic counselor at Jamaica Hospital

Genetic counselors are specialists that can help you understand the causes of genetic conditions, what types of screenings and diagnostic tests are available to you, and what your chances are of having a baby with a genetic condition. In addition, genetic counselors can help potential parents deal with how genetic conditions can affect your family emotionally.

Genetic counselors can help determine the likelihood of your baby developing a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Single gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease or hemophilia
  • Chromosomal abnormalities that can lead to conditions such as Down syndrome
  • Complex disorders such as heart defects, spina bifida, or cleft palate which can be caused by a combination of genetic predispositions and environmental factors

There are multiple factors that can increase a person’s risk of passing along a genetic disorder, including:

  • A family history of a genetic disorder
  • A prior child with a genetic disorder
  • One parent with a chromosomal abnormality
  • Advanced maternal age (35 or older)
  • Advanced paternal age (40 or older)
  • Multiple miscarriages or prior stillbirth

To help prepare for your appointment, a genetic counselor may ask you to collect the medical histories of you and your partner’s parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings, including a history of birth defects in your family. You may also be asked to provide a history of all other known medical conditions in your family, the age at which your family members were diagnosed and of any deaths resulting from these conditions.

If you are planning a pregnancy a genetic counselor can help you assess your risk-factors, review testing options, provide education and resources, and help you make informed decisions.

To make an appointment with a genetic counselor at Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center, please call 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Learn The Facts About Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease that affects the cells in your body that make mucus.  CF occurs when there is a mutation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. The mutation disables cells from moving chloride (a component of salt) to their surfaces.  Without the movement of chloride, cells cannot hydrate properly.  This leads to the production of mucus that is thicker and stickier than normal.

CF can result in damage to the digestive system, lungs, and other organs that utilize mucus to function.  The buildup of mucus can obstruct the ducts, tubes or passageways of these organs.

Those living with cystic fibrosis often have abnormally high levels of salt in their sweat.  Other complications or symptoms that may develop as a result of the disease include:

  • Frequent lung infections, including recurrent  pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Persistent cough with thick mucus
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal polyps
  • Fatigue
  • Delayed growth or puberty
  • Poor weight gain
  • Bowel movements of greasy bulky stools
  • Severe constipation
  • Male infertility

All babies born in the United States are screened for cystic fibrosis by testing small blood samples. In other cases, if someone is suspected to have CF, their doctor can order a sweat test to determine if chloride levels are normal.

Currently, there is no cure for CF. However; treatment is focused on alleviating symptoms and reducing complications. Treatment may include medications, physical therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation or surgery.

To learn more about cystic fibrosis or to make an appointment with a pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call   718 206 7126.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.