Simply CF : Signs & Symptoms
Cystic Fibrosis is a complex and sometimes confusing disease.
Each installment of Breathe 3-65 called,"Simply CF" will strive to explain the complexities of CF in a concise and accessible way.
Even though CF is an invisible disease on the outside the symptoms and complications associated with the disease are not. Breathe 3-65 has shared the complications of CF in our previous post Simply CF : It’s Complicated but what are some of the specific signs and symptoms of CF?
Cough – Because CF impacts the lungs and causes extra thick, sticky mucus to build up in the body, the respiratory system’s defense amidst such irritation and complications is persistent coughing. Coughing is the body's way of trying to move the mucus up and out, clearing the airways. With this extra irritation can come wheezing and breathlessness.
Poor Growth – That thick, sticky mucus also affects the pancreas and its ability to effectively work to produce enzymes. Without those key enzymes the body is unable to adequately take in vital nutrients and effectively digest food. This can lead to malnourishment and can stunt development.
Respiratory Complications – That excess of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs is a perfect place for bacteria and infection to thrive, causing frequent lung infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis. It can also cause people to have frequent issues and infections associated with the sinuses.
Salty Skin – Before there was even such a name for it, parents of children with CF would note a salty taste to their children's skin when they would kiss them. CF causes the body to produce an imbalance of chloride in the body making sweat extra salty.
Digestive Complications – Because of complications with the pancreas, problems with digestion are common. This complication then causes difficulties with bowel movements, frequent greasy or bulky stools, or intestinal blockages.
The body is incredibly complex. Systems within our body work both simultaneously together and separately for the same ultimate purpose – to live. Much of what keeps each of us alive takes place beneath the surface of our skin and is invisible to the unknowing eye. CF is an invisible disease and most of its symptoms are equally invisible to the eye. However, the symptoms and signs of CF are anything but invisible within the bodies of those affected.
Only a doctor or trained medical professional can diagnose cystic fibrosis. For further questions or to discuss symptoms in detail please contact your doctor.