Cystic Fibrosis Comorbid Conditions

Which Conditions Occur With Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is a complex health condition that affects different systems and organs. Most of you have one or more of these comorbid conditions along with your cystic fibrosis.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a comorbid condition that occurs along with cystic fibrosis, and one of the many gastrointestinal issues people with cystic fibrosis have. You can again thank mucus for that! Not only does thick mucus coat and block your airways. But, it also gets into your gut and blocks the ducts of a specific endocrine cell

GERD associated with cystic fibrosis doesn’t discriminate. And there’s a simple explanation for that: having cystic fibrosis predisposes you to develop GERD. That’s right, those same symptoms of airway inflammation, frequent cough, and even a high-fat diet, put you at risk for GERD.

The good news is that GERD symptoms will naturally improve for a lot of you. And you can thank older age for that! In more severe cases, like those that don’t get better with age, your GERD symptoms eventually cause respiratory insufficiency, and you or your loved one needs surgery.

Give one of these a try to manage your GERD.

  • Avoid foods, such as spicy foods or those high in caffeine.
  • Use an antacid.


People with cystic fibrosis have insulin sensitivity. But not everyone develops diabetes. Cystic fibrosis causes a distinct form of diabetes that is different from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It’s called cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD). CFRD happens when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. 

So, you or your loved one develops CFRD. What are the next steps? How do you manage this condition? Insulin! Currently, insulin is the only recommendation when it comes to managing CFRD. But this doesn’t mean that you perhaps wouldn’t benefit from alternative or holistic medicine approaches.

Certain Cancers

People with cystic fibrosis don’t have higher risks of developing cancers simply because they have cystic fibrosis. In all actuality, the risk of cancer is the same for everyone. Some people are predisposed to certain cancers, like breast cancer in families where there’s a history.

The same is true for those of you with cystic fibrosis. You’re more likely to have certain cancers like gastrointestinal cancers or digestive tract cancers. And your risks don’t stop at cancer. In some cases, cancer increases your risk of developing syndromes and conditions.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to take control of your health. Do one or more of these things to reduce your cancer risks.

  • Avoid tobacco.
  • Remain physically active.
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Get regular medical care.

Mental Health Conditions

Did you know that having a chronic health condition increases your risk of developing a mental health condition? It’s true! So it should come as no surprise that mental health conditions appear with cystic fibrosis. Maybe it’s related to lung function? Or perhaps their quality of life? There are many possibilities and unknowns. But what is known is that caregivers and people with cystic fibrosis are likely to develop conditions like anxiety or depression.

Medication, therapy, or a combination of the two can help you overcome your mental health challenges. Do you need help finding a provider in your area?

Recurring Respiratory Infections

If you have cystic fibrosis, you’re no stranger to chronic respiratory infections. Your respiratory infections are common, but they don’t happen because of the same bacteria that cause a cold or the flu. These respiratory infections are caused by the Pseudomonas aeruignosa bacteria.

Even though the source of the infection is different, an infection is an infection! What this means is that it responds to antibiotics.


Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is the final comorbid condition. Everyone with cystic fibrosis doesn’t develop this condition. But for those of you who do, do you notice an overlap of your symptoms? The good news is that you’re not imagining things; the conditions are similar!

ABPA makes your airways extremely sensitive to an allergen in a fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus. Aspergillus fumigatus is a fungus that remains airborne both indoors and outdoors. Coming into contact with that allergen causes symptoms of airway constriction and breathing problems. That sounds a lot like cystic fibrosis, no?

Managing your ABPA and cystic fibrosis is simple. It involves doing one or more of the following.

  • Use steroids to lower inflammation.
  • Use antifungal medications to get rid of the fungus.
  • Take the proper steps to manage your or your loved one’s cystic fibrosis.