Many people don’t understand the difference between cystic fibrosis and asthma. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease, and while it does affect the airways significantly it also affects the entire body. The overproduction of mucus leads to clogged and sticky airways in a cystic fibrosis patient that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Cystic fibrosis is a rare genetic disease, and both parents must be carriers for a child to have cystic fibrosis.
Asthma is much more common. People have asthmatic symptoms when they’re ill, they can have chronic asthma that they’re treated for, children can grow out of asthma, and allergies can induce asthma.
It’s rare to have cystic fibrosis and asthma. Approximately 10% of cystic fibrosis patients have asthma. It’s even more rare for asthma to be me most serious of the two diagnosis. It’s like losing the genetic lottery. There’s a significant family history of serious asthmatic episodes in our family. Our cystic fibrosis doctor refers to Lexi as her asthmatic patient with cystic fibrosis. As opposed to being a cystic fibrosis patient with asthma.
Winter is very hard on Lexi‘s asthma. She does best in hot temperatures and low humidity. Arizona’s the perfect home for her. Some asthmatics do better in cool temperatures, every person is different. Once the temperatures are in the 70s and there’s any moisture in the air, Lexi struggles. So why does that make winter a problem for us?
A restricted airway is tough enough. But when you squeeze that airway that has mucus in it, you lose that airway. Lexi has pockets in her lungs that have completely closed. Closed with mucus trapped behind them. Cystic fibrosis patients often have procedures to clean that mucus out of the deepest parts of their lungs. With the high risk of Covid to people with bad airways, Lexi‘s lungs haven’t been cultured in several months. We are unsure if there’s any infection currently present.
And not to complicate things more Lexi also has vocal cord dysfunction. Her vocal cords close off, and prevent the proper flow of air through them. This creates a scenario for her where sometimes it’s difficult to get air in or out.
We are lucky to have an amazing medical team. It’s important to trust your doctors and your specialist. Today Lexi is struggling, and I just wanted to share a little bit about why she has bad days. part of her journey is educating other people.