How Cystic Fibrosis Affects the Sweat Glands - Topic Overview
Cystic fibrosis can lower the normal salt levels in the body, which can lead to a variety of short- and long-term problems.Sweat glands cool the body by releasing perspiration (sweat) from the lower layers of the skin onto the surface. Sodium and chloride (salt) help carry water to the skin's surface and are then reabsorbed into the body. As the water evaporates, heat is carried away, and the body cools.In people who have cystic fibrosis, the salt travels to the skin's surface with the water and is not reabsorbed. Because of this, the skin of a child who has cystic fibrosis is abnormally salty. Parents may notice salty-tasting skin when they kiss the child. People who have cystic fibrosis can become quickly depleted of salts, especially when the weather is hot, when they exercise strenuously, or when they have a fever. Low salt levels in the body lead to fatigue, weakness, fever, muscle cramps, stomach pain, vomiting, dehydration, and heatstroke. To avoid these conditions, people who
How Cystic Fibrosis Affects Breathing and the Lungs - Topic Overview
Normal lung and respiratory functionThe breathing tubes, or bronchi, leading to the air sacs (alveoli) are lined with cells that produce mucus. Normally, the cells produce a thin, runny mucus that coats the surface of the lungs.Foreign particles, such as dust and germs, constantly enter the lungs and become trapped in the mucus. Tiny hairs called cilia on the surface of the breathing tubes sweep the mucus and foreign particles upward into the larger air passages and then up to the throat where they can be swallowed or coughed up.Effects of cystic fibrosis on lung and respiratory functionCystic fibrosis causes the mucus that coats the breathing tubes to become so thick and sticky that the cilia are unable to sweep the germs and other particles up and out of the lungs. The trapped bacteria lead to frequent, serious infections and permanent lung damage.In response to infections, the body's immune system sends white blood cells to the lungs to attempt to destroy the infection. White blood
Nasal Potential Difference Test for Cystic Fibrosis - Topic Overview
The nasal potential difference test (nasal PD test) measures how well salts (sodium and chloride) flow across the mucous membranes in the nose. This type of test can be helpful when the results of a sweat test or a genetic test are not clear. In this test, electrodes are placed inside the nose and liquids are run through the nose. There is also a needle placed in the forearm that connects to a machine. Because this test can be uncomfortable, your child may need medicine to help him or her relax before having the test. This test is not used very often because it can be difficult to do and because it is not available in many places.
How Cystic Fibrosis Affects the Bones - Topic Overview
Many people who have cystic fibrosis have low bone mineral density, because they have problems absorbing vitamin D and calcium, which are necessary for strong and healthy bones. Low bone mineral density can make a person who has cystic fibrosis more likely to have bone fractures or to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis in adulthood.Routine dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) tests can check the density and strength of your bones. Spending small amounts of time in the sun, exercising, taking vitamins, and eating nutritious foods can help prevent bone problems. People who have cystic fibrosis may also have painful or swollen joints (arthralgia or arthritis) from time to time. Often these joint problems do not last more than a week and any pain can usually be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
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