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By M.D., Lynn M. Taussig, M.D. James C. Cunningham

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Later, the dish is checked for these and other bacteria that cause lung infections. Tests can then be done to see how certain antibiotics affect the germs. Antibiotics are medicines that fight the bacteria. Blood Tests Blood tests can check for infections, the body’s response to infection and for possible side effects of medicine. A small sample of blood is usually taken with a syringe and sent to a laboratory for testing. Blood tests can also check for other effects of CF like nutrition status, vitamin levels, liver disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

56 How CF Affects the Body Symptoms of Malabsorption Symptoms of malabsorption include: • Poor weight gain • Frequent, large, greasy, foul-smelling stools • Stomachache • Excessive gas Poor weight gain Poor weight gain may occur even though the person with CF is hungry and eating a lot. It is caused by malabsorption of protein and fat. Lung disease may make weight gain even harder, since more calories are used for breathing and lung repair or healing. Frequent, large, greasy, foul-smelling stools This is caused by the fat in the stools, since the fat is not absorbed for use by the body.

40 How CF Affects the Body • Infections cause inflammation, which can damage the cilia and airways, making them even less able to clear mucus, particles and germs from the lungs. • Infections often cause more mucus to be made. This can lead to more mucus plugs and worse infections. This infection-inflammation cycle causes lung damage. Mucus plugs block airways and let germs grow, spreading infection. The lungs react by making more mucus to clean the airways, but the mucus blocks even more airways.

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An Introduction to Cystic Fibrosis for Patients and Families by M.D., Lynn M. Taussig, M.D. James C. Cunningham


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