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Alagille Syndrome


Description:
Alagille syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the liver, heart, kidney, and other systems of the body. Problems associated with the disorder generally become evident in infancy or early childhood. The disorder is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, and the estimated prevalence of Alagille syndrome is 1 in every 100,000 live births.It is named after Daniel Alagille.

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A person with Alagille syndrome has fewer than the normal number of small bile ducts inside the liver. The liver is the organ in the abdomen—the area between the chest and hips—that makes blood proteins and bile, stores energy and nutrients, fights infection, and removes harmful chemicals from the blood.

Bile ducts are tubes that carry bile from the liver cells to the gallbladder for storage and to the small intestine for use in digestion. Bile is fluid made by the liver that carries toxins and waste products out of the body and helps the body digest fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. In people with Alagille syndrome, the decreased number of bile ducts causes bile to build up in the liver, a condition also called cholestasis, leading to liver damage and liver disease.

The digestive system:
The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—also called the digestive tract—and the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The hollow organs that make up the GI tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine—which includes the colon and rectum—and anus. Food enters the mouth and passes to the anus through the hollow organs of the digestive system. The liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are the solid organs of the digestive system. The digestive system helps the body digest food.
Symptoms:
The symptoms of Alagille syndrome and their severity vary, even among people in the same family sharing the same gene mutation.

Liver:  In some people, problems in the liver may be the first signs and symptoms of the disorder. These symptoms can occur in children and adults and in infants as early as the first 3 months of life.
Jaundice. Jaundice—when the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow—is a result of the liver not removing bilirubin from the blood. Bilirubin is a reddish-yellow substance formed when hemoglobin breaks down. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that gives blood its red color. Bilirubin is absorbed by the liver, processed, and released into bile. Blockage of the bile ducts forces bilirubin and other elements of bile to build up in the blood.
Jaundice may be difficult for parents and even health care providers to detect. Many healthy newborns have mild jaundice during the first 1 to 2 weeks of life due to an immature liver. This normal type of jaundice disappears by the second or third week of life, whereas the jaundice of Alagille syndrome deepens. Newborns with jaundice after 2 weeks of life should be seen by a health care provider to check for a possible liver problem.
Dark urine and gray or white stools. High levels of bilirubin in the blood that pass into the urine can make the urine darker, while stool lightens from a lack of bilirubin reaching the intestines. Gray or white bowel movements after 2 weeks of age are very reliable signs of a liver problem.
Pruritus. The buildup of bilirubin in the blood may cause itching, also called pruritus. Pruritus usually starts after 3 months of age and can be severe.
Xanthomas. Xanthomas are fatty deposits that appear as yellow bumps on the skin. They are caused by abnormally high cholesterol levels in the blood, common in people with liver disease. Xanthomas may appear anywhere on the body. However, xanthomas are usually found on the elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands, feet, or buttocks.
Other Symptoms of Alagille Syndrome are:
Certain signs of Alagille syndrome are unique to the disorder, including those that affect the vertebrae and facial features.

Face.  Many children with Alagille syndrome have deep-set eyes, a straight nose, a small and pointed chin, large ears, and a prominent, wide forehead. These features are not usually recognized until after infancy. By adulthood, the chin is more prominent.

Eyes. Posterior embryotoxon is a condition in which an opaque ring is present in the cornea, the transparent covering of the eyeball. The abnormality is common in people with Alagille syndrome, though it usually does not affect vision.

Skeleton. The most common skeletal defect in a person with Alagille syndrome is when the shape of the vertebrae—bones of the spine—gives the appearance of flying butterflies. This defect, known as “butterfly” vertebrae, rarely causes medical problems or requires treatment.

Heart and blood vessels. People with Alagille syndrome may have the following signs and symptoms having to do with the heart and blood vessels:

heart murmur—an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. A heart murmur is the most common sign of Alagille syndrome other than the general symptoms of liver disease.1 Most people with Alagille syndrome have a narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs.1 This narrowing causes a murmur that can be heard with a stethoscope. Heart murmurs usually do not cause problems.

heart walls and valve problems. A small number of people with Alagille syndrome have serious problems with the walls or valves of the heart. These conditions may need treatment with medications or corrective surgery.

blood vessel problems. People with Alagille syndrome may have abnormalities of the blood vessels in the head and neck. This serious complication can lead to internal bleeding or stroke. Alagille syndrome can also cause narrowing or bulging of other blood vessels in the body.
Kidney disease. A wide range of kidney diseases can occur in Alagille syndrome. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist, that filter wastes and extra fluid from the blood. Some people have small kidneys or have cysts—fluid-filled sacs—in the kidneys. Kidney function can also decrease.
Causes:
Alagille syndrome is caused by a gene mutation, or defect. Genes provide instructions for making proteins in the body. A gene mutation is a permanent change in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the material inside cells that carries genetic information and passes genes from parent to child. Approximately 30 to 50 percent of people with Alagille syndrome have an inherited gene mutation, meaning it has been passed on by a parent. In the remaining cases, the gene mutation develops spontaneously.1 In spontaneous cases, neither parent carries a copy of the mutated gene.

Most cases of Alagille syndrome are caused by a mutation in the JAGGED1 (JAG1) gene. In less than 1 percent of cases, a mutation in the NOTCH2 gene is the cause.2

1Spinner NB, Leonard LD, Krantz ID. Alagille syndrome. GeneReviews website. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1273/External NIH Link. Updated February 28, 2013. Accessed July 16, 2014.

2Kamath BM, Bauer RC, Loomes KM, et al. NOTCH2 mutations in Alagille syndrome. Journal of Medical Genetics. 2012;49(2):138–144.
Genetic Disorders: 
Each cell contains thousands of genes that provide the instructions for making proteins for growth and repair of the body. If a gene has a mutation, the protein made by that gene may not function properly, which sometimes creates a genetic disorder. Not all gene mutations cause a disorder.

People have two copies of most genes; one copy is inherited from each parent. A genetic disorder occurs when one or both parents pass a mutated gene to a child at conception. A genetic disorder can also occur through a spontaneous gene mutation, meaning neither parent carries a copy of the mutated gene. Once a spontaneous gene mutation has occurred in a person, it can be passed to the person’s children.
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Complications:
The complications of Alagille syndrome include liver failure, portal hypertension, and growth problems. People with Alagille syndrome usually have a combination of complications, and may not have every complication listed below.:-

Liver failure. Over time, the decreased number of bile ducts may lead to chronic liver failure, also called end-stage liver disease. This condition progresses over months, years, or even decades. The liver can no longer perform important functions or effectively replace damaged cells. A person may need a liver transplant. A liver transplant is surgery to remove a diseased or an injured liver and replace it with a healthy whole liver or a segment of a liver from another person, called a donor.

Portal hypertension. The spleen is the organ that cleans blood and makes white blood cells. White blood cells attack bacteria and other foreign cells. Blood flow from the spleen drains directly into the liver. When a person with Alagille syndrome has advanced liver disease, the blood flow backs up into the spleen and other blood vessels. This condition is called portal hypertension. The spleen may become larger in the later stages of liver disease. A person with an enlarged spleen should avoid contact sports to protect the organ from injury. Advanced portal hypertension can lead to serious bleeding problems.

Growth problems. Alagille syndrome can lead to poor growth in infants and children, as well as delayed puberty in older children. Liver disease can cause malabsorption, which can result in growth problems. Malabsorption is the inability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients from foods, which results in protein, calorie, and vitamin deficiencies. Serious heart problems, if present in Alagille syndrome, can also affect growth.

Malabsorption. People with Alagille syndrome may have diarrhea—loose, watery stools—due to malabsorption. The condition occurs because bile is necessary for the digestion of food. Malabsorption can lead to bone fractures, eye problems, blood-clotting problems, and learning delays.

Long-term Outlook:
The long-term outlook for people with Alagille syndrome depends on several factors, including the severity of liver damage and heart problems. Predicting who will experience improved bile flow and who will progress to chronic liver failure is difficult. Ten to 30 percent of people with Alagille syndrome will eventually need a liver transplant.

Many adults with Alagille syndrome whose symptoms improve with treatment lead normal, productive lives. Deaths in people with Alagille syndrome are most often caused by chronic liver failure, heart problems, and blood vessel problems.

Diagnosis:
The Doctor diagnoses Alagille syndrome by performing a thorough physical examination of the patient and ordering one or more of the following tests and exams:

Blood test. A blood test involves drawing blood at a health care provider’s office or a commercial facility and sending the sample to a lab for analysis. The blood test can show nutritional status and the presence of liver disease and kidney function.

Urinalysis. Urinalysis is the testing of a urine sample. The urine sample is collected in a special container in a health care provider’s office or a commercial facility and can be tested in the same location or sent to a lab for analysis. Urinalysis can show many problems of the urinary tract and other body systems. The sample may be observed for color, cloudiness, or concentration; signs of drug use; chemical composition, including glucose; the presence of protein, blood cells, or bacteria; or other signs of disease.

X ray. An x ray is a picture created by using radiation and recorded on film or on a computer. The amount of radiation used is small. An x-ray technician performs the x ray at a hospital or an outpatient center, and a radiologist—a doctor who specializes in medical imaging—interprets the images. Anesthesia is not needed. The patient will lie on a table or stand during the x ray. The technician positions the x-ray machine over the spine area to look for “butterfly” vertebrae. The patient will hold his or her breath as the picture is taken so that the picture will not be blurry. The patient may be asked to change position for additional pictures.

Abdominal ultrasound. Ultrasound uses a device, called a transducer, that bounces safe, painless sound waves off organs to create an image of their structure. The transducer can be moved to different angles to make it possible to examine different organs. In abdominal ultrasound, the health care provider applies a gel to the patient’s abdomen and moves a handheld transducer over the skin. The gel allows the transducer to glide easily, and it improves the transmission of the signals. A specially trained technician performs the procedure in a health care provider’s office, an outpatient center, or a hospital, and a radiologist interprets the images; anesthesia is not needed. The images can show an enlarged liver or rule out other conditions.

Cardiology exam. A cardiologist—a doctor who treats people who have heart problems—performs a cardiology exam in a health care provider’s office, an outpatient center, or a hospital. During a full exam, a cardiologist may inspect the patient’s physical appearance, measure pulse rate and blood pressure, observe the jugular vein, check for rapid or skipped heartbeats, listen for variations in heart sounds, and listen to the lungs.

Slit-lamp exam. An ophthalmologist—a doctor who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases and eye disorders—performs a slit-lamp exam to diagnose posterior embryotoxon. The ophthalmologist examines the eye with a slit lamp, a microscope combined with a high-intensity light that shines a thin beam on the eye. While sitting in a chair, the patient will rest his or her head on the slit lamp. A yellow dye may be used to examine the cornea and tear layer. The dye is applied as a drop, or the specialist may touch a strip of paper stained with the dye to the white of the patient’s eye. The specialist will also use drops in the patient’s eye to dilate the pupil.

Liver biopsy. A liver biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a piece of liver tissue for examination with a microscope for signs of damage or disease. The health care provider may ask the patient to stop taking certain medications temporarily before the liver biopsy. The patient may be asked to fast for 8 hours before the procedure.

During the procedure, the patient lies on a table, right hand resting above the head. A local anesthetic is applied to the area where the biopsy needle will be inserted. If needed, sedatives and pain medication are also given. The health care provider uses a needle to take a small piece of liver tissue. The health care provider may use ultrasound, computerized tomography scans, or other imaging techniques to guide the needle. After the biopsy, the patient should lie on the right side for up to 2 hours and is monitored an additional 2 to 4 hours before being sent home.

Genetic testing. The health care provider may refer a person suspected of having Alagille syndrome to a geneticist—a doctor who specializes in genetic disorders. For a genetic test, the geneticist takes a blood or saliva sample and analyzes the DNA for the JAG1 gene mutation. The geneticist tests for the JAG1 gene mutation first, since it is more common in Alagille syndrome than NOTCH2. Genetic testing is often done only by specialized labs. The results may not be available for several months because of the complexity of the testing.

The usefulness of genetic testing for Alagille syndrome is limited by two factors:

*Detection of a mutated gene cannot predict the onset of symptoms or how serious the disorder will be.

*Even if a mutated gene is found, no specific cure for the disorder exists.

When to Consider Genetic Counseling:
People who are considering genetic testing may want to consult a genetics counselor. Genetic counseling can help family members understand how test results may affect them individually and as a family. Genetic counseling is provided by genetics professionals—health care professionals with specialized degrees and experience in medical genetics and counseling. Genetics professionals include geneticists, genetics counselors, and genetics nurses.

Genetics professionals work as members of health care teams, providing information and support to individuals or families who have genetic disorders or a higher chance of having an inherited condition. Genetics professionals

*assess the likelihood of a genetic disorder by researching a family’s history, evaluating medical records, and conducting a physical exam of the patient and
*other family members

*weigh the medical, social, and ethical decisions surrounding genetic testing

*provide support and information to help a person make a decision about testing

*interpret the results of genetic tests and medical data

*provide counseling or refer individuals and families to support services

*serve as patient advocates

*explain possible treatments or preventive measures

*discuss reproductive options

Genetic counseling may be useful when a family member is deciding whether to have genetic testing and again later when test results are available.

Treatment:
Treatment for Alagille syndrome includes medications and therapies that increase the flow of bile from the liver, promote growth and development in infants’ and children’s bodies, correct nutritional deficiencies, and reduce the person’s discomfort. Ursodiol (Actigall, Urso) is a medication that increases bile flow. Other treatments address specific symptoms of the disorder.

Liver failure. People with Alagille syndrome who develop end-stage liver failure need a liver transplant with a whole liver from a deceased donor or a segment of a liver from a living donor. People with Alagille syndrome who also have heart problems may not be candidates for a transplant because they could be more likely to have complications during and after the procedure. A liver transplant surgical team performs the transplant in a hospital.

Pruritus. Itching may decrease when the flow of bile from the liver is increased. Medications such as cholestyramine (Prevalite), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane), naltrexone (Vivitrol), or antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve pruritus. People should hydrate their skin with moisturizers and keep their fingernails trimmed to prevent skin damage from scratching. People with Alagille syndrome should avoid baths and take short showers to prevent the skin from drying out.

If severe pruritus does not improve with medication, a procedure called partial external biliary diversion may provide relief from itching. The procedure involves surgery to connect one end of the small intestine to the gallbladder and the other end to an opening in the abdomen—called a stoma—through which bile leaves the body and is collected in a pouch. A surgeon performs partial external biliary diversion in a hospital. The patient will need general anesthesia.

Malabsorption and growth problems. Infants with Alagille syndrome are given a special formula that helps the small intestine absorb much-needed fat. Infants, children, and adults can benefit from a high-calorie diet, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E, and K. They may also need additional zinc. If someone with Alagille syndrome does not tolerate oral doses of vitamins, a health care provider may give the person injections for a period of time. A child may receive additional calories through a tiny tube that is passed through the nose into the stomach. If extra calories are needed for a long time, a health care provider may place a tube, called a gastrostomy tube, directly into the stomach through a small opening made in the abdomen. A child’s growth may improve with increased nutrition and flow of bile from the liver.

Xanthomas. For someone who has Alagille syndrome, these fatty deposits typically worsen over the first few years of life and then improve over time. They may eventually disappear in response to partial external biliary diversion or the medications used to increase bile fl

Prevention:
Scientists have not yet found a way to prevent Alagille syndrome. However, complications of the disorder can be managed with the help of Doctors. Routine visits with Doctor are needed to prevent complications from becoming worse.

Hope through Research:The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other Institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research in digestive disorders, including Alagille syndrome. For example, the NIDDK is sponsoring a study called Evaluating the Genetic Causes and Progression of Cholestatic Liver Diseases (LOGIC). Funded under NIH clinical trial number NCT00571272, LOGIC will investigate the progression of cholestatic liver diseases, which can sometimes be caused by Alagille syndrome. The study will work to provide a better understanding of the causes and effects of these liver diseases, which will promote the development of prevention tactics and treatment strategies.

Clinical trials are research studies involving people. Clinical trials look at safe and effective new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. To learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate, visit the NIH Clinical Research Trials and You website at www.nih.gov/health/clinicaltrialsExternal NIH Link. For information about current studies,…click & see

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alagille_syndrome
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/Alagille-Syndrome/Pages/facts.aspx

 

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Cystic Fibrosis

Definition:
Cystic fibrosis (CF), or mucoviscoidosis, is a hereditary disease that affects mainly the lungs and digestive system, causing progressive disability.

Thick mucus production, as well as a less competent immune system, results in frequent lung infections. Diminished secretion of pancreatic enzymes is the main cause of poor growth, fatty diarrhea and deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins. Males can be infertile due to the condition congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens. Often, symptoms of CF appear in infancy and childhood. Meconium ileus is a typical finding in newborn babies with CF.

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Individuals with cystic fibrosis can be diagnosed prior to birth by genetic testing. Newborn screening tests are increasingly common and effective. The diagnosis of CF is confirmed if high levels of salt are found during a sweat test.

There is no cure for CF, and most individuals with cystic fibrosis die young: many in their 20s and 30s from lung failure. However, with the continuous introduction of many new treatments, the life expectancy of a person with CF is increasing. Lung transplantation is often necessary as CF worsens.

Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common life-shortening, childhood-onset inherited diseases. In the United States, 1 in 3900 children are born with CF. It is most common among Europeans and Ashkenazi Jews; one in twenty-two people of European descent carry one gene for CF, making it the most common genetic disease in these populations.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common severe inherited disease in people of north american and european origin. The condition is much rare in other ethnic groups. for example, in the us, about 1 in 2,500 white babies has the disorder compared with 1 in 17,000 african-american babies. All the fluids and mucus-secreting glands in the body are affected and this leads to thick, abnormal secretions, especially in the lungs and pancreas. As a result, children who are affected may experience recurrent chest infections and have problems absorbing nutrients from food.

CF is caused by a mutation in a gene called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The product of this gene is a chloride ion channel important in creating sweat, digestive juices, and mucus. Although most people without CF have two working copies of the CFTR gene, only one is needed to prevent cystic fibrosis. CF develops when neither gene works normally. Therefore, CF is considered an autosomal recessive disease.

In the past, severe chest infections were a major cause of deaths in children with cystic fibrosis. Today, with better understanding of the disease and recent advances in treatment, most affected children survive into adulthood.

Causes:
Cystic fibrosis is caused by an abnormal gene, which is carried by about 1 in 25 people and inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. The abnormal gene occurs on chromosome number 7. over 300 different mutations (abnormalities) in the gene have now been identified. Of these, the most common is called delta 508, and this is the cause of more than 1 in 7 cases of cystic fibrosis in the us.

Symptoms:
Sometimes, a newborn baby with cystic fibrosis may have a swollen abdomen and does not pass feces for the first few days after birth. other symptoms of cystic fibrosis usually develop later in infancy and may include:

· Failure to put on weight or grow at the normal rate.
· Pale, greasy feces that float and have a particularly offensive smell.
· Recurrent chest infections.

In many cases of cystic fibrosis, a constant cough develops, producing large amounts of sticky mucus.

Lung and sinus disease:
Lung disease results from clogging of airways due to inflammation. Inflammation and infection cause injury to the lungs and structural changes that lead to a variety of symptoms. In the early stages, incessant coughing, copious phlegm production, and decreased ability to exercise are common. Many of these symptoms occur when bacteria that normally inhabit the thick mucus grow out of control and cause pneumonia. In later stages of CF, changes in the architecture of the lung further exacerbate chronic difficulties in breathing.

Other symptoms include coughing up blood (hemoptysis), changes in the major airways in the lungs (bronchiectasis), high blood pressure in the lung (pulmonary hypertension), heart failure, difficulties getting enough oxygen to the body, and respiratory failure requiring support with breathing masks such as bilevel positive airway pressure machines or ventilators. In addition to typical bacterial infections, people with CF more commonly develop other types of lung disease. Among these is allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, in which the body’s response to the common fungus Aspergillus fumigatus causes worsening of breathing problems. Another is infection with mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), a group of bacteria related to tuberculosis, which can cause further lung damage and does not respond to common antibiotics.

Mucus in the paranasal sinuses is equally thick and may also cause blockage of the sinus passages, leading to infection. This may cause facial pain, fever, nasal drainage, and headaches. Individuals with CF may develop overgrowth of the nasal tissue (nasal polyps) due to inflammation from chronic sinus infections. These polyps can block the nasal passages and increase breathing difficulties.

Gastrointestinal, liver and pancreatic disease:
Prior to prenatal and newborn screening, cystic fibrosis was often diagnosed when a newborn infant failed to pass faeces (meconium). Meconium may completely block the intestines and cause serious illness. This condition, called meconium ileus, occurs in 10% of newborns with CF. In addition, protrusion of internal rectal membranes (rectal prolapse) is more common in CF because of increased fecal volume, malnutrition, and increased intra–abdominal pressure due to coughing.

The thick mucus seen in the lungs has its counterpart in thickened secretions from the pancreas, an organ responsible for providing digestive juices which help break down food. These secretions block the movement of the digestive enzymes into the duodenum and result in irreversible damage to the pancreas, often with painful inflammation (pancreatitis). The lack of digestive enzymes leads to difficulty absorbing nutrients with their subsequent excretion in the faeces, a disorder known as malabsorption. Malabsorption leads to malnutrition and poor growth and development because of calorie loss. Individuals with CF also have difficulties absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. In addition to the pancreas problems, people with cystic fibrosis experience more heartburn, intestinal blockage by intussusception, and constipation.[8] Older individuals with CF may also develop distal intestinal obstruction syndrome when thickened faeces cause intestinal blockage.

Thickened secretions also may cause liver problems in patients with CF. Bile secreted by the liver to aid in digestion may block the bile ducts, leading to liver damage. Over time, this can lead to cirrhosis, in which the liver fails to rid the blood of toxins and does not make important proteins such as those responsible for blood clotting.

Endocrine disease and growth:

The pancreas contains the islets of Langerhans, which are responsible for making insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood glucose. Damage of the pancreas can lead to loss of the islet cells, leading to diabetes that is unique to those with the disease. Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD), as it is known as, shares characteristics that can be found in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics and is one of the principal non-pulmonary complications of CF. Vitamin D is involved in calcium and phosphorus regulation. Poor uptake of vitamin D from the diet because of malabsorption leads to the bone disease osteoporosis in which weakened bones are more susceptible to fractures.[13] In addition, people with CF often develop clubbing of their fingers and toes due to the effects of chronic illness and low oxygen on their tissues.

Poor growth is a hallmark of CF. Children with CF typically do not gain weight or height at the same rate as their peers, and occasionally are not diagnosed until investigation is initiated for poor growth. The causes of growth failure are multi–factorial and include chronic lung infection, poor absorption of nutrients through the gastrointestinal tract, and increased metabolic demand due to chronic illness.

Infertility :
Infertility affects both men and women. At least 97 percent of men with cystic fibrosis are infertile. These men make normal sperm but are missing the tube (vas deferens), which connects the testes to the ejaculatory ducts of the penis. Many men found to have congenital absence of the vas deferens during evaluation for infertility have a mild, previously undiagnosed form of CF. Some women have fertility difficulties due to thickened cervical mucus or malnutrition. In severe cases, malnutrition disrupts ovulation and causes amenorrhea.

Diagnosis and monitoring :
Cystic fibrosis may be diagnosed by many different categories of testing including those such as, newborn screening, sweat testing, or genetic testing. As of 2006 in the United States, 10percent of cases are diagnosed shortly after birth as part of newborn screening programs. The newborn screen initially measures for raised blood concentration of immunoreactive trypsinogen. However, most states and countries do not screen for CF routinely at birth. Therefore, most individuals are diagnosed after symptoms prompt an evaluation for cystic fibrosis. The most commonly-used form of testing is the sweat test. Sweat-testing involves application of a medication that stimulates sweating (pilocarpine) to one electrode of an apparatus and running electric current to a separate electrode on the skin. This process, called iontophoresis, causes sweating; the sweat is then collected on filter paper or in a capillary tube and analyzed for abnormal amounts of sodium and chloride. People with CF have increased amounts of sodium and chloride in their sweat. CF can also be diagnosed by identification of mutations in the CFTR gene.

A multitude of tests is used to identify complications of CF and to monitor disease progression. X-rays and CAT scans are used to examine the lungs for signs of damage or infection. Examination of the sputum under a microscope is used to identify which bacteria are causing infection so that effective antibiotics can be given. Pulmonary function tests measure how well the lungs are functioning, and are used to measure the need for and response to antibiotic therapy. Blood tests can identify liver problems, vitamin deficiencies, and the onset of diabetes. DEXA scans can screen for osteoporosis and testing for fecal elastase can help diagnose insufficient digestive enzymes.

Prenatal diagnosis:
Couples who are pregnant or who are planning a pregnancy can themselves be tested for CFTR gene mutations to determine the likelihood that their child will be born with cystic fibrosis. Testing is typically performed first on one or both parents and, if the risk of CF is found to be high, testing on the fetus can then be performed. Cystic fibrosis testing is offered to many couples in the US. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends testing for couples who have a personal or close family history. Additionally, ACOG recommends that carrier testing be offered to all Caucasian couples and be made available to couples of other ethnic backgrounds.

Because development of CF in the fetus requires each parent to pass on a mutated copy of the CFTR gene and because CF testing is expensive, testing is often performed on just one parent initially. If that parent is found to be a carrier of a CFTR gene mutation, the other parent is then tested to calculate the risk that their children will have CF. CF can result from more than a thousand different mutations and, as of 2006, it is not possible to test for each one. Testing analyzes the blood for the most common mutations such as ΔF508 — most commercially available tests look for 32 or fewer different mutations. If a family has a known uncommon mutation, specific screening for that mutation can be performed. Because not all known mutations are found on current tests, a negative screen does not guarantee that a child will not have CF. In addition, because the mutations tested are necessarily those most common in the highest risk groups, testing in lower risk ethnicities is less successful because the mutations commonly seen in these groups are less common in the general population. These couples may therefore consider testing through labs that offer CF screens with a high number of mutations tested.

Couples who are at high risk for having a child with CF will often opt to perform further testing before or during pregnancy. In vitro fertilization with preimplantation genetic diagnosis offers the possibility to examine the embryo prior to its placement into the uterus. The test, performed 3 days after fertilization, looks for the presence of abnormal CF genes. If two mutated CFTR genes are identified, the embryo is not used for embryo transfer and an embryo with at least one normal gene is implanted.

During pregnancy, testing can be performed on the placenta (chorionic villus sampling) or the fluid around the fetus (amniocentesis). However, chorionic villus sampling has a risk of fetal death of 1 in 100 and amniocentesis of 1 in 200, so the benefits must be determined to outweigh these risks prior to going forward with testing. Alternatively, some couples choose to undergo third party reproduction with egg or sperm.

Treatment:
Treatment for cystic fibrosis is aimed at slowing the progression of lung disease and maintaining adequate nutrition.

Chest physical therapy is usually performed twice a day to remove secretions from the lungs. Parents and older affected children are often taught how to do this procedure at home. If an affected child develops a chest infection, he or she will require immediate treatment with antibiotics. in addition, long-term use of antibiotics may be necessary to prevent other chest infections from developing. older children sometimes require regular courses of intravenous antibiotics to treat bacteria that become established in the lung secretions. In this case, under general anesthesia, a permanent catheter may be inserted under the chest wall so that the antibiotics can be administered more easily. some affected children are helped by inhaled drugs that reduce the stickiness of the secretions. In some cases, it may be possible to carry out a heart-lung transplant if the lungs are severely damaged and suitable organs become available.

A high-calorie diet helps ensure that a child with cystic fibrosis grows normally. he or she may also need to take pancreatic enzymes and vitamin supplements with every meal.

An affected child and his or her family will receive psychological support, particularly during adolescence when chronic illness is especially difficult to cope with. family members may find it helpful to join a support group.

The cornerstones of management are proactive treatment of airway infection, and encouragement of good nutrition and an active lifestyle. The treatment for cystic fibrosis continues throughout a patient’s life, and is aimed at maximising organ function, and therefore quality of life. At best, current treatments delay the decline in organ function. Treatment typically occurs at specialist multidisciplinary centres, and is tailored to the individual, because of the wide variation in disease symptoms. Targets for therapy are the lungs, gastrointestinal tract (including insulin treatment), the reproductive organs (including Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)) and psychological support. In addition, therapies such as transplantation and gene therapy aim to cure some of the effects of cystic fibrosis.

The most consistent aspect of therapy in cystic fibrosis is limiting and treating the lung damage caused by thick mucus and infection with the goal of maintaining quality of life. Intravenous, inhaled, and oral antibiotics are used to treat chronic and acute infections. Mechanical devices and inhalation medications are used to alter and clear the thickened mucus.

Antibiotics to treat lung disease:
Antibiotics are given whenever pneumonia is suspected or there has been a decline in lung function. Antibiotics are often chosen based on information about prior infections. Many bacteria common in cystic fibrosis are resistant to multiple antibiotics and require weeks of treatment with intravenous antibiotics such as vancomycin, tobramycin, meropenem, ciprofloxacin, and piperacillin. This prolonged therapy often necessitates hospitalization and insertion of a more permanent IV such as a PICC line or Port-a-Cath. Inhaled therapy with antibiotics such as tobramycin and colistin is often given for months at a time in order to improve lung function by impeding the growth of colonized bacteria.Oral antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin or azithromycin are sometimes given to help prevent infection or to control ongoing infection. Some individuals spend years between hospitalizations for antibiotics, whereas others require several antibiotic treatments each year.

Several common antibiotics such as tobramycin and vancomycin can cause hearing loss or kidney problems with long-term use. In order to prevent these side-effects, the amount of antibiotics in the blood are routinely measured and adjusted accordingly.

Other methods to treat lung disease:
Several mechanical techniques are used to dislodge sputum and encourage its expectoration. In the hospital setting, physical therapy is utilized; a therapist pounds an individual’s chest with his or her hands several times a day. Devices that recreate this percussive therapy include the ThAIRapy Vest and the intrapulmonary percussive ventilator (IPV). Newer methods such as Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation, and associated clearance mode available in such devices, now integrate a cough assistance phase, as well as a vibration phase for dislodging secretions. Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation is also shown to provide a bridge to transplantation. These are portable and adapted for home use.[37] Aerobic exercise is of great benefit to people with cystic fibrosis. Not only does exercise increase sputum clearance but it also improves cardiovascular and overall health.

Aerosolized medications that help loosen secretions include dornase alfa and hypertonic saline. Dornase is a recombinant human deoxyribonuclease, which breaks down DNA in the sputum, thus decreasing its viscosity. N-Acetylcysteine may also decrease sputum viscosity, but research and experience have shown its benefits to be minimal. Albuterol and ipratropium bromide are inhaled to increase the size of the small airways by relaxing the surrounding muscles.

As lung disease worsens, breathing support from machines may become necessary. Individuals with CF may need to wear special masks at night that help push air into their lungs. These machines, known as bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) ventilators, help prevent low blood oxygen levels during sleep. BiPAP may also be used during physical therapy to improve sputum clearance. During severe illness, people with CF may need to have a tube placed in their throats and their breathing supported by a ventilator.

Treatment of other aspects of CF:
Newborns with meconium ileus typically require surgery, whereas adults with distal intestinal obstruction syndrome typically do not. Treatment of pancreatic insufficiency by replacement of missing digestive enzymes allows the duodenum to properly absorb nutrients and vitamins that would otherwise be lost in the faeces. Even so, most individuals with CF take additional amounts of vitamins A, D, E, and K and eat high-calorie meals. It should be noted, however, that nutritional advice given to patients is, at best, mixed: Often, literature encourages the eating of high-fat foods without differentiating between saturated and unsaturated fats/trans-fats; this lack of clear information runs counter to health advice given to the general population, and creates the risk of further serious health problems for people with cystic fibrosis as they grow older. So far, no large-scale research involving the incidence of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease in adults with cystic fibrosis has been conducted.

The diabetes common to many CF patients is typically treated with insulin injections or an insulin pump. Development of osteoporosis can be prevented by increased intake of vitamin D and calcium, and can be treated by bisphosphonates. Poor growth may be avoided by insertion of a feeding tube for increasing calories through supplemental feeds or by administration of injected growth hormone.

Sinus infections are treated by prolonged courses of antibiotics. The development of nasal polyps or other chronic changes within the nasal passages may severely limit airflow through the nose. Sinus surgery is often used to alleviate nasal obstruction and to limit further infections. Nasal steroids such as fluticasone are used to decrease nasal inflammation. Female infertility may be overcome by assisted reproduction technology, particularly embryo transfer techniques. Male infertility may be overcome with intracytoplasmic sperm injection.Third party reproduction is also a possibility for women with CF.

Transplantation and gene therapy:
Lung transplantation often becomes necessary for individuals with cystic fibrosis as lung function and exercise tolerance declines. Although single lung transplantation is possible in other diseases, individuals with CF must have both lungs replaced because the remaining lung would contain bacteria that could infect the transplanted lung. A pancreatic or liver transplant may be performed at the same time in order to alleviate liver disease and/or diabetes. Lung transplantation is considered when lung function approaches a point where it threatens survival or requires assistance from mechanical devices.

Gene therapy holds promise as a potential avenue to cure cystic fibrosis. Gene therapy attempts to place a normal copy of the CFTR gene into affected cells. Studies have shown that to prevent the lung manifestations of cystic fibrosis, only 5–10% the normal amount of CFTR gene expression is needed.[48] Many approaches have been theorized and several clinical trials have been initiated but, as of 2006, many hurdles still exist before gene therapy can be successful.

Prognosis:
In most cases, CF causes an early death. Average life expectancy is around 36.8 years, although improvements in treatments mean a baby born today could expect to live longer.

Epidemiology:
Cystic fibrosis is the most common life-limiting autosomal recessive disease among people of European heritage. In the United States, approximately 30,000 individuals have CF; most are diagnosed by six months of age. Canada has approximately 3,000 citizens with CF. Approximately 1 in 25 people of European descent and 1 in 22 people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent is a carrier of a cystic fibrosis mutation. Although CF is less common in these groups, approximately 1 in 46 Hispanics, 1 in 65 Africans and 1 in 90 Asians carry at least one abnormal CFTR gene.

Cystic fibrosis is diagnosed in males and females equally. For unclear reasons, males tend to have a longer life expectancy than females. Life expectancy for people with CF depends largely upon access to health care. In 1959, the median age of survival of children with cystic fibrosis was six months. In the United States, the life expectancy for infants born in 2006 with CF is 36.8 years, based upon data compiled by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In developed countries, people with CF live to a similar age. However, the life expectancy in underdeveloped countries is much less: The majority of individuals with CF do not live past the age of 10.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation also compiles lifestyle information about American adults with CF. In 2004, the foundation reported that 91% had graduated high school and 54% had at least some college education. Employment data revealed 12.6% of adults were disabled and 9.9% were unemployed. Marital information showed that 59% of adults were single and 36% were married or living with a partner. In 2004, 191 American women with CF were pregnant.

Can it be prevented?
Genetic testing means that carriers can be identified and that the disorder can be detected prenatally. Genetic testing may be offered to adults with a family history of cystic fibrosis and partners of people who have the disease. If these tests results are positive, the couple will be offered genetic counseling. A couple at risk may pot to use assisted conception, which enables the embryo to be tested for the abnormal gene before it is implanted by in-vitro fertilization. pregnant women may be offered prenatal genetic tests.

In the future, cystic fibrosis may be treated with gene therapy, in which a normal gene is introduced into relevant tissues to prevent cystic fibrosis from developing. The results of research in this field are promising.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cystic_fibrosis
http://www.charak.com/DiseasePage.asp?thx=1&id=328

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