Managing Cystic Fibrosis

Why Is Management Important?

To start, people with cystic fibrosis are living longer than before. But more than that, the right management can help you control your symptoms, slow the decline of lung function, and improve your quality of life. Don’t those points illustrate the importance of proper management?

Management doesn’t solely focus on managing and preventing pulmonary exacerbations. It also involves treating the infections with antibiotics, treating inflammation, clearing mucus, and meeting one’s nutritional needs.

How To Manage Cystic Fibrosis

Because of the complex nature of cystic fibrosis, managing cystic fibrosis is an involved process. To start, your care team involves interdisciplinary team members like a healthcare provider, respiratory therapist, dietician/nutritionist, or pulmonologist. Also, people with cystic fibrosis should get care at specialized centers or facilities.

Treat And Prevent Infections

Cystic fibrosis affects your lung’s ability to protect itself from harmful bacteria. You can blame your impaired cilia for that!

Cystic fibrosis makes you prone to chronic infections. And airway infections are linked to faster declines in lung function, poor nutritional status, and a shorter life expectancy. Unfortunately, we don’t know how all of the infections happen. However, we do know that using antibiotics early stops the bad bacteria from colonizing your airways.

Get Rid Of Mucus

We can’t talk about the causes of poor health outcomes without talking about mucus! Cystic fibrosis makes your airways produce lots of mucus. A little mucus is never a bad thing. But thick and sticky mucus is never good!

So, one of the goals for management is to get rid of that mucus! Medications can help you break up mucus, and different techniques can help you clear the mucus from your airways.

  • Breathing techniques
  • Autogenic drainage
  • Positive expiratory pressure (PEP) masks

Meet Their Nutritional Needs

It’s common for kids with cystic fibrosis to have gastrointestinal and nutritional needs. Remember, their pancreas, which is necessary for digestion, is impaired. So, their bodies don’t always get the right amount of nutrients. As a result, they’re at risk for certain health conditions like malabsorption, malnutrition, and failure to thrive.

Keeping your child’s nutritional needs met is important for managing their cystic fibrosis. It’s also the key to making sure they have optimal lung health. That’s because of the relationships between nutrition, lung function, and lung disease. Healthcare providers may recommend a high-calorie, high-fat diet, enzyme replacement therapy, or a combination of the two to meet your child’s nutritional needs. They also need to be followed by specialists like a nutritionist or a gastroenterologist.