Monday, May 06, 2013

Health - May marks Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

On the show today, we heard from Dr Aneesa Vanker – A paediatric pulmonologist at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. We were talking about cystic fibrosis. May marks Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. The month aims to highlight the growing need for awareness about CF, as volunteers, sufferers and their families unite to help shine a spotlight on what CF is and the progress being made towards a cure. According to the South African Cystic Fibrosis Association, there are approximately 700 sufferers of this inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system in South Africa presently. It is a relatively common hereditary or genetic disease, which can have a devastating effect on health. Symptoms include Excessive mucus production by the cells that line the lungs, the intestine, the sweat glands, the pancreas, the liver and the reproductive tract. The thick, sticky mucus produced by patients suffering from cystic fibrosis can block any one of the ducts in the above mentioned systems, for example it may clog the lungs to such an extent that the patient cannot breathe properly, while the mucus can also damage lung cells. CF can also lead to frequent sinus infections, diabetes mellitus, difficulty with digestion, and infertility. Since there is unfortunately no cure for CF, most individuals die young many in their 20s and 30s from lung failure but, with the continuous introduction of many new treatments, the life expectancy of a person with CF is increasing to ages as high as 40 or 50 in some CF individuals. For further information you can visit the Cystic Fibrosis Association website on www.sacfa.org.za or contact (021) 557 0323. 



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