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Cystic Fibrosis

Symptoms and Signs of Cystic Fibrosis

While each individual with the condition will experience it differently, below are some of the most commonly seen respiratory signs and symptoms and digestive signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis.

  • Abnormalities in the glands that produce sweat and mucus, which may cause of lack of salt, in turn causing an imbalance of minerals in the blood, abnormal heart rhythms, and low blood pressure and shock.
  • Thick mucus that accumulates in the lungs and intestines, causing malnutrition, poor growth, respiratory infections, breathing problems and chronic lung disease.
  • Other medical problems, including sinusitis, nasal polyps, extremely thick fingers and toes (called “clubbing”), lung collapse, coughing up blood, abdominal pain, enlargement of the right side of the heart, excess intestinal gas, rectal prolapse, liver disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, gallstones and congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens in males.

Typically, infants with cystic fibrosis show symptoms by age two, though some may not demonstrate symptoms until later on. The following are early potential symptoms of cystic fibrosis:

  • Diarrhea that does not go away
  • Foul-smelling and/or greasy stools
  • Frequent wheezing
  • Frequent bouts of pneumonia or other lung infections
  • Persistent cough
  • Skin that tastes like salt
  • Poor growth despite having a good appetite

In newborns, the first signs of this condition may be blockage of the intestines. 

Locations for Cystic Fibrosis