Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a disease that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine. It changes how your body makes mucus and sweat. It’s caused by a flawed gene.
If you have cystic fibrosis, you may have mucus that’s too thick or sweat that’s too salty. If heavy mucus clogs your lungs, it’s hard to breathe. It can also block your pancreas, an organ in your belly, so you can’t digest your food as well. The disease may make you sweat away too much of the salt your body needs to work well.
As you get older, you could present with the following symptoms:
- Coughing up thick mucus
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Getting frequent sinus and lung infections like bronchitis, or pneumonia
- Abnormal growths, called polyps in the nose
- Bulky, oily, or foul-smelling stools
- Too much gas, constipation, or stomach pain
- Weight loss or failure to gain weight
- Low bone density
- Wide, rounded fingertips and toes, called clubbing
Sometimes the symptoms don’t appear until the teen or adult years.