There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis but several treatment options are available. Chest physiotherapy and airway clearance techniques (coughing and huffing) are required to prevent mucus accumulation in the lungs and respiratory system. The excess mucus in the lungs cause recurrent infections so antibiotics are often required. Other medications include mucus thinners and therapies to modulate the activity of the defective cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator.
Digestion problems can also be treated with enriched diets (high calorie and high fat) and vitamin and enzyme tablets to aid digestion. Exercise is also an important part of the care plan for cystic fibrosis patients. Cardiovascular, strengthening and stretching exercises are important for reducing the mortality rate of cystic fibrosis patients and significantly improve lung ventilation and function. A lung transplant may also be an option for severely affected cystic fibrosis patients.
In the past, cystic fibrosis was often fatal in childhood. However, with improved medical treatments, many people now live into their 30s and beyond. It is important for affected individuals to stay as healthy as possible. Immunizations (e.g. annual influenza shot) and avoiding contact with those affected by respiratory illness are recommended for cystic fibrosis patients.
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Cystic Fibrosis Foundation