Cystic fibrosis is a disease which affects most secretory glands such mucus and sweat glands. The organs and parts of the body most affected include the lungs, liver, sinuses, pancreas and the exocrine glands.
CF is a genetic illness that occurs because of the mutation within the CFer gene on chromosome 7.
When having this illness, the mucus becomes thick and very sticky and this interferes with the normal functioning and clearance of the mucus. This allows for bacteria to grow which leads to various infections that can take place within the lungs, pancreas and sinus cavities.
Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms
They may vary from person to person, where some symptoms may be bad on one day and then eased up on the next day.
Sufferers have very thick mucus build-ups within the airways, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria causing infections. Lung infections are very common for cystic fibrosis sufferers, whereby if left untreated it may lead to severe liver damage. Patients may also suffer from repeated bouts of sinus infection, bronchitis and even pneumonia.
Over time, the illness may lead to pancreatitis, rectal prolapse, gallstones and even diabetes.
Other signs of cystic fibrosis include infertility, abnormal salty sweat, low bone density and a complete imbalance of minerals within the body.
Cystic Fibrosis Treatment
With no complete cure available at this point in time, CF treatments include:
• Chest physical therapy.
• Working with a team of specialists including dieticians, social workers and medical specialists to determine personal treatments options.
• Use of medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and mucus thinning medications.
Cystic Fibrosis and Salt Therapy
As patients with cystic fibrosis struggle to breathe, suffer from lung infections, coughing, chronic sinus infection, advances in research has allowed sufferers to utilise hypertonic saline treatments in easing symptoms.
A study held in Australia concluded that CF sufferers who surfed (and they were essentially exposed to the sea-shore salt aerosol) suffered less lung infections and breathing issues than those who didn’t. Another study on the effects of hypertonic saline aerosol on cystic fibrosis patients stated that “Hypertonic saline treatment is associated with an improvement in lung function and marked benefits with respect to exacerbations. It appears broadly applicable as an inexpensive therapy for most patients with CF.”
(Emer P. Reeves, Kevin Molloy, Kerstin Pohl, Noel G. McElvaney ScientificWorldJournal. 2012; 2012: 465230. Published online 2012 May 3. doi: 10.1100/2012/465230).
The hypertonic solution is composed of water and salt where salt forms 7.0% of the hypertonic solution. The process works in a similar manner to osmosis, where the salt particles promote drawing fluids back into the airway. This means better mucus drainage and clear airways. The salt aerosol has many other benefits on the respiratory system when used on a daily basis..
Salt aerosol therapy can also be done by using an ultrasonic salinizer. This salt machine releases microscopic particles of salt into the air for long-term breathing, usually during the night sleep. The inhaled salt particles travel into the airways, deep into the lungs, helping to clear the sticky mucus, reduce the inflammation and fight infection. It promotes better blood oxygenation and restful sleep.
Salt therapy is easy to use, inexpensive and very safe for all ages. It can be used in the comfort of your own home and offers long-term exposure to salt aerosol, especially useful for chronic respiratory problems.