What are the signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis?
- Difficulty breathing and life-altering respiratory tract problems
- including a wet, rattling cough that expels viscous mucus, possibly with blood streaking.
- Severe, chronic lung infections
- leading to permanent lung damage and lung disease, the primary cause of CF-related deaths.
- Failure to grow or gain weight
- requiring a high calorie diet to maintain adequate growth in childhood and nutrition in adulthood.
- Extreme difficulty digesting food
- requiring many pancreatic enzymes at each meal to absorb nutrients.
Cystic fibrosis was first described as a disease in the late 1930s. At the time, it was recognized usually only after a child had died, often from malnutrition or pneumonia. Medical awareness of CF has increased over the years, and four provinces have added cystic fibrosis to their newborn screening programs. However, mild forms of CF may still be confused with other common diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, or celiac disease.