1. Diseases & Conditions

Antibacterial resistance may be a risk factor for cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosisAccording to a new research,’antibacterial resistance’ may be a bigger risk factor for Cystic Fibrosis disease than it was previously thought. Stuart Elborn, a researcher from the Queen’s University, Belfast said that more funding and further research in this aspect are required in order to improve patient outcomes for individuals suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.

Researchers stated that while not all resistance found in bacteria is caused by antibiotics, the increasing resistance to antibiotics is proving a major problem in treating people with Cystic Fibrosis. Elborn added that while antibiotic treatment has undeniably resulted in increased life expectancy for patients with Cystic Fibrosis during the past 50 years, the emergence of antimicrobial resistance is a cause for major concern. Elborn continued that they need to look at the use of compounds that may work against bacteria in a way that helps our current antibiotics to be more effective and such compounds are readily available for treatment of other conditions. The study is published in The Lancet.

Cystic fibrosis — causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Somewhere in a small district of rural India, a mother enters a nearby health care centre with her child who is gasping for breath, constantly coughing and appears weak. These symptoms are so similar to other respiratory conditions that the child is given the same medications as other children who showed similar symptoms. Unlike several other kids, who responded to those medications well and got cured; this child finds no relief whatsoever because he is suffering from a life-limiting genetic disorder called cystic fibrosis.

Once thought to be non-existent in India, cystic fibrosis is the much widespread in Indian population, especially in kids, than expected. And what could be more frightening than the fact that most cases of cystic fibrosis are misdiagnosed. Even if the disease is suspected, it is rarely confirmed because of poor diagnostic facilities.

India.comWhy makes diagnosis of cystic fibrosis difficult?

Cystic fibrosis is a chronic genetic disease affecting the lungs and gastrointestinal system. It results due to a gene defect which is passed on to children having parents who carry a defective gene. This defective gene codes for a protein that causes the lungs to produce sticky, dense mucus. The mucus gradually clogs the lungs and cause several lung infections that might be fatal. It also affects the normal functioning of pancreas by obstructing the production of certain substances (enzymes) required by the body to digest and absorb food.

What are the symptoms of cystic fibrosis?

In India, cystic fibrosis patients usually suffer from malnutrition along with respiratory and digestive problems. A peculiar characteristic of these patients is the presence of high salt concentration in their sweat. (Read: Why you shouldn’t neglect cough)

Respiratory problems due to dense, sticky mucus include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Choked nasal passage
  • Wheezing
  • Increased tendency to develop sinusitis and nasal polyps (swelling on the walls of nasal cavity or sinuses)

How can cystic fibrosis be confirmed?

Suspecting cystic fibrosis is a complicated task. With detailed study of the patients’ symptoms and a look at their family history, cystic fibrosis can be suspected. Suspected cystic fibrosis cases are usually confirmed by detecting the concentration of salt in the patient’s sweat. Chloride concentration of greater than 60 mmol/L indicates cystic fibrosis.

With inputs from ANI

Image Source: Getty Images


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