Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days of Awareness: Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis

Awareness Color: Purple (US), Red (Canada)
Awareness Month: May

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease of the mucus and sweat glands. It affects mostly your lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses and sex organs. CF causes your mucus to be thick and sticky. The mucus clogs the lungs, causing breathing problems and making it easy for bacteria to grow. This can lead to problems such as repeated lung infections and lung damage.


Symptoms in newborns may include:
  • Delayed growth
  • Failure to gain weight normally during childhood
  • No bowel movements in first 24 to 48 hours of life
  • Salty-tasting skin
Symptoms related to bowel function may include:
  • Belly pain from severe constipation
  • Increased gas, bloating, or a belly that appears swollen (distended)
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Stools that are pale or clay colored, foul smelling, have mucus, or that float
  • Weight loss
Symptoms related to the lungs and sinuses may include:
  • Coughing or increased mucus in the sinuses or lungs
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal congestion caused by nasal polyps
  • Recurrent episodes of pneumonia. Symptoms in someone with cystic fibrosis include:
    • Fever
    • Increased coughing
    • Increased shortness of breath
    • Loss of appetite
    • More sputum
  • Sinus pain or pressure caused by infection or polyps
Symptoms that may be noticed later in life:
  • Infertility (in men)
  • Repeated inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Respiratory symptoms
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