-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Children and teens with
cystic fibrosis have impaired blood vessel function, which may
affect their ability to exercise, a new study suggests.
Exercise is recommended to combat lung complications associated
with cystic fibrosis.
Researchers had 15 cystic fibrosis patients, aged 8 to 18, pedal
a stationary bike as long and hard as they could. It was leg
fatigue, rather than lung problems, that forced them to stop
Further investigation revealed that the cystic fibrosis patients
could take in oxygen as well as a control group of 15 children and
teens without cystic fibrosis, but their muscles were not as
efficient at using oxygen. The researchers also found that the
cystic fibrosis patients' blood vessels didn't dilate as well as
those of the healthy children and teens.
This was due to the reduced ability of blood vessels to respond
to important clues, such as expanding when exercise or stress
increase the body's demand for blood and oxygen, the researchers
The study, published in the journal
Chest, provides the first evidence of impaired blood vessel
function and exercise intolerance in children and teens with cystic
fibrosis. The blood vessel dysfunction could contribute to the
exercise intolerance, which is an independent predictor of death in
youngsters with the disorder, regardless of their lung
The impaired blood vessel function seen in the cystic fibrosis
patients may be linked to chronic inflammation and oxidative
stress, which may impair the body's ability to use nitric oxide, a
major blood vessel dilator, explained study corresponding author
Dr. Ryan Harris, clinical exercise physiologist at the Medical
College of Georgia and Institute of Public and Preventive Health at
Georgia Health Sciences University.
Cystic fibrosis patients tend to live with a chronic, low-grade
inflammation resulting from a chronic state of infection. This is
because their thicker-than-normal lung mucus traps inhaled bacteria
and viruses that are normally cleared from the body.
About 30,000 Americans have cystic fibrosis, and the median
predicted age of survival is the mid-30s, according to the Cystic
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
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