W2 Reflection: Cystic Fibrosis among Caucasian

In today’s society it seems we categorize and create relationships between race and health. We believe that certain ‘races’ have a stronger correlation with certain diseases, therefore assuming that they are hand in hand: If you self-identify with this race, you’re more likely to be susceptible to the disease. But I believe self-identify is a huge part of that, there is no biological factor to determine race. Race referring to a group of people who have similarities in traits and biological factors such as physical characteristics. I think we also interchange race and ethnicity, ethnicity being our cultural factors and ancestry. I do not believe race and health have a strong correlation, but on the other hand I believe genetics and health have a strong relationship. Genetics from your ancestors are passed down through parents and on to you: Mutations, that can be biologically tested and proven to be passed through family. Adaption as well, such as the sickle cell gene that the today’s children ancestor’s genes adapted to and passed down child to child to allow protection against this disease. Almost every visit at the doctor they ask if there has been a change in family history, this is because genetics and health have a strong relationship!


Cystic fibrosis occurs in 1 in 2500 to 3500 white newborns, and about 1 in 17000 for African Americans and 1 in 31000 for Asian Americans. (NIH) Cystic Fibrosis in the chart shows that the majority of the disease is found in Caucasian.

To have cystic fibrosis, you must obtain a mutated gene referred to as CFTR from each parent, if you inherit only one CFTR gene you’re considered a carrier for cystic fibrosis. I have also put at the bottom a chart on how one obtains the gene. I find genetics and the probability of becoming a carrier of a mutated gene fascinating. The gene mutations are mostly among Caucasian Americans who’s ancestors are from Europe. (CF Foundation) Researching about why Europe, it leads me to a New York times article said it lead back to the Stone Age: A hypothesis thought that cystic fibrosis was possibly a gene that adapted trying to withstand cholera and other bowel/dehydration issues. (Angier) Cystic fibrosis creates an imbalance with salt and water which causes a thick buildup of mucus. This would theoretically protect when it comes to dehydration with bowel disease because of the salt and water preservation. This being another genetic mutation or adaption such as the sickle cell with Malaria. If the ancestors are predominately from Europe that would make the general ‘race’ be white or Caucasian. I believe because of social determinants back then genetically our ancestors adapted: Which then they have passed on genetic factors that make us more susceptible to cystic fibrosis.



“Cystic Fibrosis – Genetics Home Reference – NIH.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/cystic-fibrosis.

“Carrier Testing for Cystic Fibrosis.” CF Foundation, www.cff.org/What-is-CF/Testing/Carrier-Testing-for-Cystic-Fibrosis/.

Angier, Natalie. “Cause of Cystic Fibrosis Is Traced to the Stone Age.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 June 1994, www.nytimes.com/1994/06/01/us/cause-of-cystic-fibrosis-is-traced-to-the-stone-age.html.

“Patient Registry.” Aug. 2015, www.cff.org/Our-Research/CF-Patient-Registry/2015-Patient-Registry-Annual-Data-Report.pdf.


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