Managing CF-Related Diabetes Through Early Diagnosis and Treatment – 2010 NACFC
Jan. 27, 2011 | 2 min read

Because of advances in treatment and care, today 47 percent of all people with CF are over the age of 18. Meeting the needs of this growing population was a prominent topic at this year's North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference.

More than 40 percent of people with CF over the age of 30 have CF-related diabetes (CFRD). CFRD is its own form of diabetes and is different from diabetes types 1 and 2. In individuals with CFRD, the body does not make enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps the body gain and maintain weight and muscles.

Classic symptoms of CFRD include increased thirst and urination, weight loss and an unexplained decline in lung function. However, many people with CFRD have no, or very subtle, symptoms and do not know that they have diabetes until they are tested.

Screening early and annually for CFRD and prompt treatment are a part of CF care. These and other recommendations from experts in both CF and diabetes can be found in the CF Foundation CFRD care guidelines.

“Until recently, CFRD was associated with poorer nutrition and lung function and lower survival rates,” said Antoinette Moran, M.D., division chief of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Minnesota. “But with early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, that gap has disappeared.”

CFRD is treated with insulin. People with the disease manage their blood sugar by balancing their insulin, food and physical activity. “Diabetes is a hassle, there's no getting around that,” said Dr. Moran. “But people with CFRD can lead a completely normal lifestyle and eat a normal diet - it shouldn't stop them from doing anything.”

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