Caucasians and Cystic Fibrosis

The health disparity that I chose was Cystic Fibrosis among Caucasians. I decided to choose this disease because it is so prevalent in Caucasians and there are not many other diseases that have higher prevalence rates among the Caucasian race than Cystic Fibrosis does. It is inherited from a defective gene by each parent, which causes the body to produce a thick mucus affecting the lungs and other organs. This mucus blocks the airways and can cause lung damage and infections, as well as difficulty breathing. This sticky mucus also clogs the pancreas and stops enzymes from assisting the body break down food and absorb nutrients. As previously stated, it is a genetic disease that starts at conception, but many of the symptoms may not come into play for many years. The symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, salty-tasting skin, lung infections, sinus infections, constant coughing, slow weight gain, greasy stools, loss of appetite, a build up of mucus, fatigue, and pancreas inflammation. Even though there is currently no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, there are many treatments available. Infant screening has helped with increased lung functioning and growth. There have also been medications to clear up the lung airways and reduce infections. Cystic Fibrosis is predominantly found in Caucasians with a Northern European decent. I believe this is due to the genetic factors of people who were from Northern Europe, since it is most commonly found there.

 

Race, genetics, and heath are all very important topics that can put us at risk for developing a certain disease or illness. As shown in the Ecology and Adaptation video, there was a relationship between sickle sell anemia and malaria among the population in West Africa. In this example, race and genetics play a very important role because it tells you where the person’s ancestors originally came from. Just like Northern European Caucasians have increased Cystic Fibrosis, malaria and sickle cell anemia are more prevalent among people in West Africa. Race and genetics are connected and can give health status for a certain population.

 

American Lung Association. “Cystic Fibrosis (CF).” . http://www.lung.org/assets/documents/publications/solddc-chapters/cf.pdf

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Ashley Webb 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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