Cystic Fibrosis Among White Americans


The health disparity I chose was Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder in which the recessive CFTR gene is mutated. Cystic Fibrosis in a chronic disease in which it affects the lungs and the digestive system. This defective gene causes the body to produce a thick mucous that can clog the lungs, that can lead to life threatening infections. This mucous not only clogs the lungs of those affected with the disease but it also obstructs the pancreas from performing its functions with digestion and absorption. Because of these complications those diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis are only expected to live until between 30-40 years (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation).

As to why I think that Cystic Fibrosis is more prevalent in the Caucasian population. I am not too sure, I tried to research some information for some clues. I think that it has to do maybe the culture of the early United States, but it is just a wild guess. I read something a couple of years ago about Cystic Fibrosis being common to Europeans,  White American most likely brought over Cystic Fibrosis from Europe. For many, many decades inter-racial couples were frowned upon in early America. Therefore those carrying the mutation for cystic fibrosis for the most part only had children with other white Americans leading to a rise in White Americans with CF.  Naturally other “races” have the mutation for CF but it more than likely increased when inter-racial couple become more and more acceptable. I think that eventually race won’t even be a factor for cystic fibrosis as the gene pools become more and more mixed.

Based upon the articles and videos I have watched and read this week. I don’t really believe that there is genetic differences between the races. I believe that there are other factors that have contributed to the health disparities among the different “races”. I don’t believe there is a relationship between genetics and race. I agree with many of the articles that the difference is in many different factors especially ones environment. Just as was mentioned in the the clip, “Race and the New Biocitizen”, I don’t think that such a thing as “race” will even exist 50 years from now. Medicine needs to focus research more on the non-genetic factors!

Works cited

“Birth prevalence of disorders detectable through newborn screening through race/ethnicity”. Genetics in Medicine. Retrieved from, (Retrieved July 12, 2013). Web.

“What is Cystic Fibrosis”. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Retrieved from, (Retrieved July 12, 2013). Web.




This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Chase Taylor says:

    Cystic fibrosis is a very interesting disease and a disease that all the background I’ve ever viewed was in a genetics context so I found your approach very refreshing. I do however think that there must be a reason for the prevalence of cystic fibrosis among White Americans. My first thought is that White Americans typically come from a European background which is much colder than other racial groups so possibly something to do with the prevention of a disease that would thrive in a cold weather climate. Another possible explanation would be perhaps something to do with resistance to a disease which traveled easily in farm animals, also a very common European resource. I thought you had an interesting point about interracial couple theory but I would wonder if possible greater interracial couple breeding would allow for a general decrease in Cystic Fibrosis due to fewer recessive/recessive combinations in European couples. I only find racial categorization to a useful method in a case by case basis. Racial categorization can be incredibly helpful in screening newborns for possible diseases. At this point and over the next 50 years however I would be interested and excited to see if your decline in race theory is correct. While I agree with your points to a great extent I would suggest that when talking about racialized health disparities a variety of approaches be considered.

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