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The month of May is officially recognized as “Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month” in the United States. Spearheaded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the campaign aims to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis (CF) and what life is like with the chronic, life-threatening disease. The campaign aims to not only remind people about the genetic disease that causes chronic congestion and lung infections, but also to understand why awareness is important for those living with CF. As per reports, approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States have CF. It is estimated that more than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the defective CF gene. Regarded as a chronic, life-threatening disease, cystic fibrosis (CF) primarily affects the lungs, digestive system, and other organs. The cells that produce mucus are affected. Sweat and other secreted fluids normally appear thin and slippery. However, in people with CF, a defective gene causes the secretions to become sticky and thick. The secretions cause blocks in tubes, ducts and passageways, particularly in the pancreas and lungs, causing several life-threatening problems such as severe infections, respiratory failure and malnutrition. Physicians offering diagnosis and treatment for cystic fibrosis need to have adequate knowledge about the related medical codes and payer regulations to submit claims and get reimbursement. Relying on the services of a reputable medical coding company is important to report CF diagnosis and screening accurately.

The 2021 campaign is a unique platform wherein thousands of volunteers join together to raise awareness about this devastating disease and share their story of hope and progress. CF is a hereditary condition that occurs in a child when both parents have a defective gene. In CF, a defect (mutation) in a gene – the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene – changes a protein that regulates the movement of salt in and out of cells. This increases the salt content in sweat and creates thick, sticky mucus in the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. A strong salty taste to the skin is one of the early symptoms of CF. The type of symptoms of CF can vary depending on the severity of the condition and age at which these symptoms tend to occur. In fact, symptoms may normally appear in infancy, but on the other hand, for some children, symptoms may not begin until after puberty or even later in life. As time passes, certain other symptoms like – wheezing, shortness of breath, persistent coughing, repeated lung infections, recurrent sinusitis, poor weight gain in spite of excessive appetite, nasal polyps, intestinal blockage and chronic or severe constipation can occur.

Diagnosis of CF may involve a detailed physical examination and review of symptoms. Early diagnosis of the causes and associated symptoms can help initiate the treatment process in a quick and better manner. Physicians may perform a blood sample test to check for higher than normal levels of a chemical called immunoreactive trypsinogen (IRT released by the pancreas). For an infant, physicians may conduct a sweat test (when the infant is 2 weeks old). A sweat-producing chemical is applied to a small area of skin. Then the sweat is collected to test it, and see if it is saltier than normal. In addition, genetic tests may also be performed to identify specific defects of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis.

There is no specific cure for cystic fibrosis (CF). However, advancements in treatment have made it possible for those with CF to live much longer than before. But, still people live under the risk of infection and health problems due to CF. Treatment modalities include – medications (for gene mutations, anti-inflammatory medications, mucus-thinning drugs, inhaled medications, oral pancreatic enzymes, acid-reducing medications and other drugs for diabetes or liver disease), airway clearance techniques (called chest physical therapy (CPT), and pulmonary rehabilitation. If the above treatment modalities do not yield in the desired results, surgical options like nasal and sinus surgery, oxygen therapy, bowel surgery, noninvasive ventilation and lung or liver transplantation may be recommended.

Physicians treating patients with cystic fibrosis can rely on outsourced billing services of a professional billing company for correct clinical documentation of this condition. The ICD-10 codes for Cystic Fibrosis come under the E84 category.

  • E84 – Cystic fibrosis
  • E84.0 – Cystic fibrosis with pulmonary manifestations
  • E84.1 – Cystic fibrosis with intestinal manifestations
  • E84.11 – Meconium ileus in cystic fibrosis
  • E84.19 – Cystic fibrosis with other intestinal manifestations
  • E84.8 – Cystic fibrosis with other manifestations
  • E84.9 – Cystic fibrosis, unspecified

During CF Awareness Month in May, the community will come together to help others learn about the disease, share personal stories, and unite behind the mission of finding a cure for all people with CF. As part of the campaign, a wide range of activities are organized throughout the month. People can check out the official “CF Awareness Toolkit” to get tips, tools, and language that help spread the word about the disease. People can share the word about CF, their diagnosis story, and treatment routines via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all month long. They can share their CF story on social media using the hashtag #FacesOfCF, change their cover photos and profile picture frames – “Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month 2021” and add a frame to their FB profile picture.

Participate in “CF Awareness Month” this May and educate people about CF or encourage people within the community to get involved in this campaign.