Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

November 12, 2012

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

Symptoms of cystic fibrosis can vary from person to person as well as in severity. Abnormalities in the sweat and mucus glands can lead to problems in a number of areas.

What is cystic fibrosis?

This condition affects the glands that produce and secrete sweat and mucus. Individuals suffering from cystic fibrosis have abnormalities in their glands, which can cause problems for a number of parts and functions of the body. The sweat glands are responsible for cooling the body and maintaining the balance of minerals in the blood. Cystic fibrosis patients lose too much sat in their sweat, disrupting the mineral balance in the blood, a condition that can trigger abnormal heart rhythms and poses a risk of the body going into shock. The mucus glands are responsible for the lubrication of the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems as well as protecting tissue from infection through ensuring that they don’t dry out. Cystic fibrosis patients produce mucus, which is of a thicker consistency than normal and can accumulate in the lungs and intestine. A number of health issues and symptoms of cystic fibrosis can arise due to this including regular respiratory problems, difficulties breathing, poor growth, malnutrition and can eventually lead to permanent lung damage. Death as a result of cystic fibrosis is typically due to lung disease.

Typical symptoms of cystic fibrosis include:

  • Pale or clay coloured stools

  • Recurrent pneumonia

  • Chronic coughing in many cases with streaks of blood

  • Bronchitis

  • Wheezing

  • Chronic Sinusitis

  • Thick, viscous secretions of mucus in the lungs

  • Asthma

  • Weight loss or failure to gain weight in infants

  • Nasal Polyps

  • Dehydration

  • Failure to pass stool in newborns

  • Abdominal pain

  • Flatulence

  • Fatigue

  • Repeated infections

  • Enlarged fingertips

  • Changes in colour and quantity of sputum

These symptoms of cystic fibrosis are the most common but will not necessarily occur in everyone. The most problematical and serious of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis is the gradual worsening of lung function due to frequent infection and inflammation. Blockages in the air passages caused by mucus are usually the primary cause for this loss of function. Other problems that can occur as a results of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis include sinusitis, hemoptysis, cor polmunale, rectal prolapse, pneumothorax, diabetes and liver disease.


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