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What Is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is defined by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as, “a genetic condition that affects a protein in the body. People who have cystic fibrosis have a faulty protein that affects the body’s cells, tissues, and the glands that make mucus and sweat.”

Read on to learn more about cystic fibrosis.

Bodily Effects of Cystic Fibrosis

Typically, mucus is slippery and defends the linings of the airways, digestive tract, as well as other organs and tissues. If you have cystic fibrosis, your mucus is viscous and clingy, which can cause buildup and prompt blockages, damage, or infections in the impacted organs. It’s also possible for inflammation to induce damage to organs like the lungs and pancreas.


While some people with cystic fibrosis experience very little or no symptoms at all, others endure harsh or life-threatening affections. The symptoms associated with cystic fibrosis are largely dependent on the organs that are impacted and how severe the condition is.

If you suffer from cystic fibrosis and you experience symptoms, you may notice some or all of the following:

  • Intestinal blockage in a baby shortly after birth
  • Clubbing of fingers and toes as a result of reduced oxygen levels traveling to the hands and feet
  • Fever, which can include night sweats
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, like severe abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, or constipation
  • Jaundice for a concerning amount of time after birth
  • Low body mass index (BMI) or underweight
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Hindered growth or puberty
  • Salty skin and sweat that’s saltier than normal
  • Sinus infections

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