Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms

Cystic Fibrosis SymptomsCystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic disease caused by mutated cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTRs). These CFTRs affect the mucus and sweat glands along with digestive fluids, making them thick instead of thin. A wide range of symptoms appears from coughing up mucus to difficulty breathing. Cystic fibrosis is a disorder that can be treated only if the symptoms are identified correctly. There are four common cystic fibrosis symptoms that appear in those afflicted with the disorder.

Difficulty Breathing

The most common problem that affects people with CF is difficulty breathing. These breathing restrictions are caused by sinus infections common in people with colds and flus. If excessive mucus builds up in the sinuses, it becomes difficult to breathe through the mouth and nose.

CF is a condition that affects the mucus glands, so it is common to find too much mucus in the body. This problem is the most significant one of all the cystic fibrosis symptoms. The mucus becomes so thick that it clogs up different areas:

  • Lungs
  • Windpipe
  • Sinuses

Infections form when the bacteria grow in the mucus. When severe infections occur, coughing begins. Some people cough up mucus that is thick and sticky or bloody. With or without coughing, it is difficult to breathe with congested airways.

Lung Infections

Some people with lung infections have common bacteria known as mucoid Pseudomonas present in their bodies. Identifying the bacteria is a sign that CF is present. Other signs include the appearance of pneumonia and sinusitis. If these disorders are not treated properly, long-term damage occurs in the body.

From an early infant age, certain bacterial agents are found in the lungs. These large colonies of bacteria thrive for years in the body. The bacteria become difficult to remove using certain antibiotics. MRSA is a common strain of bacteria that resists methicillin. Staphylococcus aureus is common in many CF patients and causes pneumonia if it is not treated properly.

Chronic bacterial infections are cystic fibrosis symptoms that cause lung disease in children and adults. The bronchoscopy is a medical procedure used to analyze the progression of the lung disease.


Cystic fibrosis symptoms will affect the reproductive system. Infertility is a common sign of cystic fibrosis that affects both men and women. Most people diagnosed with the condition are born infertile; however, they can still have children with alternative reproduction methods. Men are born without a vas deferens. Women cannot get pregnant because the excessive mucus clogs up the cervix.

Digestive Problems

The excessive mucus collects in the ducts of the pancreas. The ducts become blocked and prevent the enzymes from entering the intestines. Enzymes are needed to promote the absorption of fats and proteins in the stomach and digestive system. As a result, the body develops diarrhea that creates fatty stool. Other digestive symptoms include excessive gas, bloating and stomach pains.

Some people suffer from incontinence or poor health because nutrients are not absorbed properly. When cystic fibrosis symptoms become very severe, serious disorders develop, such as:

  • Gallstones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease

Cystic fibrosis is a disorder of the genes that damages the lungs, mucus glands, digestive system and reproductive system. The treatments for this disease have improved over the decades and increased the lifespan of afflicted people. Since cystic fibrosis is a progressive disease, there is no cure at the time. People treat this condition with antibiotics, lung transplants and vitamin supplements. Nowadays, people can screen for cystic fibrosis symptoms in newborns. Doctors are working to identify the symptoms of the disease in its early state. Those afflicted with the condition are living well with the disease and working to reduce the effects of the symptoms.


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