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Signs and Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects the lungs, liver, pancreas and intestines. Cystic fibrosis is characterized by the production of thick, viscous secretions in the afore-mentioned organs. Instead of acting as a lubricant, a defective gene causes the normally thin and slippery secretions to become thick and sticky, and this plugs up tubes, ducts and passageways, particularly in the lungs.

Cystic fibrosis is caused by a mutation in the CFTR gene. Although most people have two working copies of the CFTR gene, both are defective in a person with cystic fibrosis. We have put together a list of signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis below.

The Signs and Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis are as follows:

  • Salty taste to the skin
  • Persistent coughing
  • Poor growth
  • Poor weight gain
  • Malabsorption
  • Accumulation of thick, sticky mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent chest infections
  • Intestinal blockage in newborns
  • Distended abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn

In many children, the signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis begin during infancy. Other people may not experience the signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis until adolescence or adulthood.

The management of cystic fibrosis has greatly improved over the last 70 years. In 1959, the median age of survival for an infant born with cystic fibrosis was 6 months. In 2008, the median age of survival for children born with cystic fibrosis was 37 years.

Cystic fibrosis occurs in about 1 in 4,000 children in the US. Approximately 30,000 individuals in the US have cystic fibrosis.

Diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis

During the last decade, states have routinely begun screening for cystic fibrosis at birth through the analysis of a blood sample. Other tests such as a sweat test are necessary to confirm the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. If the sweat test results aren’t clear-cut, a blood sample analyzing the DNA of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis can be checked for specific mutations.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis: A Guide for Patient and Family
David M. Orenstein
The Power of Two: A Twin Triumph over Cystic Fibrosis
Isabel Stenzel Byrnes
Taking Cystic Fibrosis to School
Cynthia S. Henry
Understanding Cystic Fibrosis (Understanding Health & Sickness)
Karen Hopkin

Resources For Cystic Fibrosis

General Patient Resources

  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

What you need to know about cystic fibrosis, including symptoms of cystic fibrosis and statistics, as well as information about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

  • Cystic Fibrosis . com

Welcome to the community for people concerned with cystic fibrosis. Visit our interactive forums and blogs to find support and share information.

  • Medicine Net .com

Read about cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease of the mucus and sweat glands.

  • About . com

Basic and in-depth information about cystic fibrosis. What is cystic fibrosis? What causes cystic fibrosis? What are the symptoms? How is cystic fibrosis diagnosed, and more.

  • Cystic Fibrosis Canada

The Face of Cystic Fibrosis.

  • Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

A US Department of Health and Human Service project providing information on genetic and rare diseases. A comprehensive body of resources on Cystic fibrosis.

  • E Health Forum

Welcome to the Cystic Fibrosis Forum – a health community featuring member and doctor discussions ranging from a specific symptom to related conditions, treatment options, medication, side effects, diet, and emotional issues surrounding medical conditions.

  • Healing Well . com

Active message board and chat for caregivers and individuals with Cystic Fibrosis. Share support, give advice, or offer coping skills. Moderated by volunteers.

Medical Resources

  • Web MD

Read a basic overview of cystic fibrosis, a inherited disorder affecting the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems.

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers causes, symptoms, treatment of this inherited condition.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.