About Cystic Fibrosis

Watch out for these Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms

All new parents should be familiar with the signs of cystic fibrosis. It is a life-threatening disease, whose signs should be well-known so that the disease can be spotted and treated immediately. Below you will find some helpful information that could save a child’s life.

Cystic fibrosis is a debilitating illness that affects both men and women. Usually beginning with simple complications, it usually develops into major failures in the digestive and respiratory systems. It affects people at different degrees, and some people live longer than others.

Symptoms of cystic fibrosis usually sprout in children at an early age, even in toddlers. However in some cases, symptoms may not develop until the child is a few years old.

How it affects the digestive system

One of the first symptoms of cystic fibrosis is a thick, dark stool. Parents who observe this symptom with their baby should note that this is an alarm signal. Symptoms also usually include swelling around the stomach area and nausea.


Cystic fibrosis patients usually experience a blocked flow of digestive fluids from the pancreas. This can be dangerous because when this flow is disrupted, it can affect the digestion and absorption of essential vitamins and nutrients from food, which often leads to malnutrition. A disrupted digestive system also includes recurring hunger pangs, growth stunts, and poor weight gain.

How it affects the respiratory system

Out of all the symptoms of cystic fibrosis, the most dangerous ones are those that are found in the respiratory system. It is this part of the disease that can cause major health complications. Symptoms include:

Excessive coughing

In patients suffering from cystic fibrosis, mucus in the lungs is difficult to remove due to its sticky nature. This makes it difficult to breathe and leads to heavy coughing. Excessive coughing irritates the lungs and throat.

Lung infections

Because the mucus in the lungs is thick and clingy, bacteria tend to stick to it and can cause inflammation and swelling in the lungs. These are dangerous conditions that can lead to permanent lung damage.

Difficulty in breathing

Inflammation can cause airways to constrict in the lungs, making it even harder for air to pass through.

Lung scarring

People suffering from cystic fibrosis will experience degradation in lung function over time. This is caused by lung scarring, a natural reaction from the body to pulmonary infections.

How it affects other parts of the body


This is a term that refers to the swelling of the extremities. Because this disease constricts breathing, not enough oxygen is absorbed in the blood. A low level of oxygen in bodily tissue causes bloating in the fingers and toes.

Hi salt content in sweat

In people suffering from cystic fibrosis, sweat usually has a high concentration of salt, up to ten times more than in healthy people. When patients exercise or are in hot weather, they tend to lose excessive amounts of salt. In order to make up for the salt loss, patients have to consume more salt or salty foods.


Infertility is one of the common symptoms in males. Sperm production is not affected, but because the passageways from the testes to the ejaculatory ducts are blocked, the patient becomes infertile. Statistically, approximately 97% of men with this disease are sterile. This does not, however, prevent the male from having sexual activity.


These are the most common symptoms of cystic fibrosis. If you notice any of these symptoms in your children – irregular stool, excessive coughing, malnutrition, etc. – it would be wise to contact your doctor immediately for a checkup.

Disclaimer: This website provides general information about cystic fibrosis and in no means should be taken as a medical or health advice. Please consult your doctor before acting on any of its information.