Cystic fibrosis complications
In considering the buildup of respiratory mucus for those with CF, it's important to know that hair-like cilia lining the airways are bogged down and become ineffective in their job of sweeping away accumulated mucus. This makes it hard for a person with CF to breathe and promotes inflammation and damage to the airway. Also, bacteria taken in from the air gets stuck in the mucus clogs of the respiratory tract and sinuses, causing recurrent infection.
Lung disease accounts for more than 80% of CF-related deaths.
For most people with CF, mucus blocks and destroys the ducts of the pancreas as well, preventing the organ's manufacture of pancreatic enzymes required for food digestion. Resultant digestive issues include foul, "greasy" bowel movements, problems with healthy weight gains, and severe constipation. Particularly in newborns, life-threatening intestinal blockage may occur.