Genetic testing can decide if you and your spouse are carries of the mutant cystic fibrosis gene. Testing can also be done on your unborn child. If your child is found to have the CF gene, there is still no way to find out how severe the cystic fibrosis symptoms will be after the child arrives. Genetic testing on siblings, and both parents to see if any are carrying the mutant gene. Other members of your family may want testing to see if they are carrying the gene if they are planning on starting a family.
The standard genetic test for the CF gene called the sweat test. A small electric carries a chemical called pilocarpine into the skin of the forearm. This small jolt of current will make the sweat glands that are in the area to produce sweat. A piece of gauze or special filter paper gathers the sweat for testing for chloride. The collected sweat is usually tested at a lab that is accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. A child that has two positive results of 60 or above in their sweat chloride is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
There are several other tests used to check the progress of the disease. Chest x-rays are performed regularly and blood tests are routinely done to discover the nutritional status of the CF patient. Studies will also be made to control the growth of bacteria in the child’s lungs. These bacteria may not affect normal people but can harm those who have cystic fibrosis. The bacteria the patient will be tested for is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Hemophilous influenza. Pulmonary function is regularly When your child is old enough to cooperate with the testing procedure they are given pulmonary function tests. This test check on the effects CF is having on the child’s breathing capacity.
Once a child is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis they may or may not need to have a hospital stay after they are diagnosed with the disease. A hospital stay will depend on the condition of the child when cystic fibrosis is diagnosed. If a hospital stay is suggested, they will have several diagnostic tests including and their nutritional needs. Children are often diagnosed with cystic fibrosis because they do not gain weight even after eating a normal diet and having a healthy appetite. Before a child is dismissed from the hospital they will be checked to be sure they have proper lung function and they will be given a diet with digestive enzymes and the vitamins they need to gain weight normally. The child will need to see their doctor at least once every three months.
The child with cystic fibrosis will need daily care but it will be different for each child. Daily care often includes pulmonary treatments to preserve proper lung function. They will also need to have a diet high in vitamins and enzymes that help the digestive system. It is recommended the children be on a high fat diet and given a daily vitamin supplement.