Make a Plan to Stay Healthy
Knowing your CF is important to stay healthy. Staff at CF Foundation-accredited care centers partner with people with CF to develop individual treatment plans. These plans typically include high-calorie, high-fat diets, therapies to loosen the clogged mucus from their airways, and mucus-thinning drugs and antibiotics when needed.
By following a treatment plan developed with their CF care center team, many people with CF can slow down the progression of their disease. A healthier body is better able to deal with bacteria and chronic lung infection.
People with CF are at greater risk of getting lung infections because thick, sticky mucus builds up in their lungs, allowing germs to thrive and multiply. CF lung infections, caused mostly by bacteria, remain a serious and chronic problem for many living with the disease.
Diet – Watch What You Eat
An important factor for staying healthy is good nutrition. Thick mucus often gets in the way of proper digestion, causing malabsorption. This problem is treated with pancreatic enzyme supplements, vitamins and a high-calorie, high-fat diet.
Cystic Fibrosis-related Diabetes – Keeping Sugar in Check
As people with cystic fibrosis get older, their risk of getting diabetes increases. With CF, scarring often occurs in the pancreas, which produces insulin for the body. This scarring sometimes prevents insulin from getting into the blood and could lead to diabetes.
CF Foundation-accredited care centers regularly check each patient for diabetes, usually once a year. Learn more about cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
Some environmental factors in daily life can damage lung health. For instance, second-hand smoke is particularly harmful to people with cystic fibrosis. Keeping airways healthier means not smoking and keeping the environment smoke-free.
Nebulizers – Clearing the Airways
Since inhaled drugs more easily reach the airways, they are common in cystic fibrosis care. Inhaled treatments can be given by aerosol, a mist treatment made from liquid medicines. In this case, the drug goes into a cup (nebulizer) and is attached to a small air compressor. The compressor blows air through the cup and makes a mist. Cystic fibrosis patients inhale the small particles in the mist through a mask or mouthpiece for several minutes to help clear the mucus.
Medicines can also be given as metered dose inhalers, which deliver one dose of medicine at a time.
Lung Health – Exercise
Exercise is important to maintain lung health, especially for people with CF. Learn about the different kinds of exercise you can safely do on a daily basis from Day to Day Exercise and CF. Included in the brochure is a fun lung worksheet you can print to track your exercise activity!