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Early treatment is important: early detection of cystic fibrosis in newborns
According to health experts, around 8,000 people with cystic fibrosis live in Germany. The congenital metabolic disease is not curable. But especially children with cystic fibrosis can often be treated well. For this it is important to recognize the disease quickly - for example with the help of a screening test for newborns.
Around 8,000 cystic fibrosis patients in Germany
Cystic fibrosis is a congenital metabolic disorder. In Germany alone, around 8,000 people suffer from the incurable disease, especially children and young adults. An early diagnosis and a therapy that is started early can help to significantly improve the quality of life and life expectancy of cystic fibrosis patients. To achieve this, the metabolic disorder test was integrated into the newborn screening.
Early detection screening has proven itself
The examination of newborns for cystic fibrosis, which was introduced a year ago, has proven itself in Bavaria. This was pointed out by the State Minister for Health, Melanie Huml.
“The voluntary test is very well received by parents. Since the start on September 1, 2016, 23 children in Germany have been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. This allowed treatment to be started at an early stage, ”explained the politician.
"The early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis has been supplementing the previous screening offer for congenital metabolic and hormone disorders," says Huml.
“Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease can significantly improve the quality of life and life expectancy of the children affected. It is therefore important that as many newborns as possible are tested. "
Congenital metabolic and hormonal disorders are very rare
For years, experts have been pointing out the importance of cystic fibrosis screening for babies. Participation in the study launched in Bavaria about a year ago is voluntary and requires the consent of the parents.
For the test, a few drops of blood are taken from the heel between 36 and 72 hours after birth. The blood is then examined in the laboratory for congenital metabolic diseases and serious hormonal disorders.
Newborn metabolism screening has been provided by statutory health insurance since 2005.
“Congenital metabolic and hormonal disorders are very rare overall. In Bavaria, around 130 children with a congenital metabolic or hormone disorder are discovered each year through the screening. These include around 25 newborns with cystic fibrosis, ”explained Huml.
No cure for cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (also called cystic fibrosis, CF) is an inherited disease. A gene change leads to a disruption of the salt exchange in glandular cells. This creates viscous mucus in the airways and organs, which ignite permanently.
The course of the disease is very different and can affect different organs. The severity of the disease can also vary enormously.
The function of the pancreas is often restricted. If the course is severe, repeated lung infections can significantly impair lung function.
There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis. However, the consequences of illness can be improved or alleviated through various therapeutic approaches, so that the life expectancy of patients has increased continuously. (ad)