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Cystic Fibrosis

Should I Consider Testing for CF?

02/25/2010

Question:

I have had fatigue for eight years after a long bout with bronchitis. Since then, I received contradictory and inconclusive diagnoses. I noticed more and more mucus/fluids in my nose and ear canals since and have a constant feeling a having something stuck in my throat, which is hard to cough out and impossible to swallow. It turns out to be really viscous clear mucus which sometimes comes out. I often have dry and deep coughing fits. I feel I sweat more and found out that increasing my water intake made me feel better and helped my flaky skin. i now drink quite a lot. Last year, fatigue became unbearable, mucus constant and I developed clubbed nails on two fingers. In October, I went to the ER for another bronchitis and was treated with antibio and an asthma treatment to breathe. The ER treatment helped with the bronchitis and further antibio rid me of a sinus infection I must have been having for a while. Strangely, I also felt much more energetic for the next weeks, then fatigue set in again but the daily use of an inhaler seems to help. My doctor seems to think that CF is very unlikely as I would have had more drastic problems (I am now 32). I still think it would be worth testing for. Am I being stubborn? (no clear digestive problem btw) Thank you very much.

Answer:

Your symptoms are not specific for cystic fibrosis and could describe a wide variety of respiratory processes.

 

Although cystic fibrosis is not at the top of the list of possibilities, it is not impossible. Patients with late diagnosis, particularly adult diagnosis can have "non-classic" CF. This means that the disease symptoms are less pronounced and often lack the digestive and nutritional problems of classic CF. I suggest you see a specialist in pulmonary diseases.

 

If you are specifically concerned about CF, that diagnosis is best made by a specialist in adult cystic fibrosis. These specialists are generally well versed in diseases with similar symptoms as well. If you pursue a CF diagnosis, it is recommended that the sweat chloride test, the test most commonly used to diagnose CF, be done at a CF Foundation accredited CF center. To locate the CF care center nearest to you, you may use the CF Foundation website: http://www.cff.org

For more information:

Go to the Cystic Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Patricia   Joseph, MS, MD Patricia Joseph, MS, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati