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Hi, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl two months ago. Unfortunately, right after the birth the doctors had to do a surgery because her bowels were obstructed. After the surgery they told us that my daughter probably suffers from cystic fibrosis. I understood that this condition affects pancreas and lungs. The doctors also said that the sweat test has to be done, because this is the only way to make a conclusive diagnosis. Can you explain how is sweat connected to cystic fibrosis?

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Hi, I am very sorry to hear that your daughter might be suffering from a condition as serious as cystic fibrosis. It is true that this condition affects mostly lungs and pancreas, but other organs can be affected as well. Sweat glands are among them. Cystic fibrosis is actually caused by the mutated genes that are responsible for the synthesis of one type of protein molecules. These proteins are responsible for the transportation of chloride ions into the cells. The chloride ions, because of some chemical reactions, bind to them sodium ions. This combination cases the sweat of people affected by cystic fibrosis to be extremely salty. The sweat of these people is reach with salts that are not absorbed by the cells. The extreme loss of electrolytes may cause abnormal heart rhythm and even shock. The sweat test is the common diagnosis procedure in which the amount of salt in the sweat is detected and judging from this a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis can be made.
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