Can a thriving infant have cystic fibrosis?

Modern technology and effective treatments have made it possible for the vast majority of infants with cystic fibrosis to live past their first birthday. Most infants today are diagnosed with cystic fibrosis before two months of age, which leads to quick and effective intervention. Thanks to universal cystic fibrosis genetic testing at birth, most cases of cystic fibrosis are treated right from the get go. This highly increases the likelihood that an infant with cystic fibrosis can thrive and develop throughout infancy and childhood [source: March of Dimes].

Infants with cystic fibrosis require a high-calorie diet and nutritional supplements to meet the energy needs associated with the condition. A dietitian who specializes in cystic fibrosis in infancy can be of great help in this regard. Proper nutrition is essential for proper infant growth and development. In fact, higher body weight is associated with better lung function among babies with cystic fibrosis [source: CFF]. Although most infants with cystic fibrosis show normal lung function, lung function damage does begin in infancy. Recent research suggests that treating lung function in infancy, before permanent damage is evident, is essential for long-term health [source: Medical News Today]. Overall, most infants with cystic fibrosis diagnosed soon after birth, thrive and appear healthy. It is, however, of utmost importance to seek immediate and comprehensive medical attention for the condition during this early stage of life.


Unfortunately, a certain percentage of infants still go undiagnosed until serious health complications occur. Infants with cystic fibrosis have nutritional deficiencies from gastrointestinal problems related to the condition. Left untreated, infants with cystic fibrosis tend to be underweight and may exhibit failure to thrive. In fact, poor growth is one of the first signs of the effects of cystic fibrosis. Other common symptoms related to cystic fibrosis in infancy include chronic wheezing or coughing, difficulty passing stools, foul-smelling stools, and salty-tasting skin [source: March of Dimes].