The goal for treating CFRD is to keep blood sugar (glucose) at normal or near-normal levels. Doing so will help you gain weight, maintain muscle mass, feel better, and have more energy. Maintaining normal glucose levels also lowers the risk of problems caused by diabetes.
CFRD can be well managed with insulin, along with monitoring your blood sugar levels, eating your usual high-calorie diet, and staying active.
There are many types of insulin, which are grouped by how fast they work and how long they last in the body. Insulin is injected into the body and helps your body cells absorb the energy (calories) from the food you eat. Calories in food come from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Insulin helps the body cells absorb these three nutrients so you can achieve and maintain a healthy body weight and good nutritional status.
People with CFRD still need to eat the same high-calorie, high-protein, high-fat, high-salt diet to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Since foods with carbohydrates turn into blood glucose when eaten, people with CFRD need to count the carbohydrates in the foods they eat so they can give themselves the right amount of insulin. Your diabetes care team will help you determine the amount of insulin you need for your carbohydrates.
Physical activity like
exercise is good for lung function and can also improve your body's response to insulin. People with CFRD are encouraged to do at least 150 minutes of some type of moderate aerobic exercise -- activities that require you to breathe in oxygen, like jogging or playing sports -- every week. Monitoring your blood sugar levels will allow you to remain active since exercise may cause the levels to drop when muscles use the sugar for energy.
If you are diagnosed with CFRD, your CF care team may expand to include an endocrinologist (a doctor with special training in the treatment of diabetes) and certified diabetes educators. Working with you, this team will design a treatment plan to help you manage your diabetes while also maintaining your health with CF.
Download the manual, "Managing Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes, An Instruction Guide for Patients and Families."
The manual is also available in Spanish:
"El Manejo de la Diabetes Relacionada con la Fibrosis Quística."