Live Well

Managing and Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Exocrine glands are an essential part of the exocrine system in our bodies. These glands are responsible for secreting bodily substances that include sweat, saliva, milk, semen, acid for digestion, bile, mucous, tears, and more. Unlike the respiratory or the digestive system, the exocrine system works independently by responding to the needs of the body. When a person is born with cystic fibrosis, their body makes too many or too little protein, called cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR). Right amount of CFTR helps those organs function well that are responsible for regulating salt-sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl) ions movement and water movement across the cell surface.

The exocrine system is affected when a person is born with faulty genes, which leads to cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis affect exocrine glands then either secrete too little or too much CFTR. This discrepancy in the secretion of CFTR leads to thickening of the mucus that is secreted in pancreatic ducts, gastrointestinal tract, and the reproductive system. Thickening of the mucus subsequently causes obstruction in the regular functioning of the organ. The obstruction in regular functioning of these organs is then followed by these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Chronic coughing
  • Lasting allergies
  • Wheezing

Cystic fibrosis can become a life-threatening condition. Therefore, it is important to manage it well through treatments and self-care. With right management, patient can improve their condition and quality of life. Although it can be difficult to manage cystic fibrosis, but with a set guideline one can manage it well and get positive results. Management of cystic fibrosis may include treatments such as managing nutrition and diet, regularly testing performance of lungs, using metered dose inhaler, and using nebulizers:

1. Lifestyle changes

When it comes to managing nutrition and diet in cystic fibrosis, it doesn’t mean one only has to follow a balanced or a healthy diet. Each person with this condition would have different nutritional needs depending on factors like age, gender, malabsorption, and the severity of the lung disease. People with cystic fibrosis can consult their doctor or nutritionist to get a suitable diet plan made.  Following a diet religiously will substantially contribute to managing and treating cystic fibrosis.

2. Pulmonary function test

This test is another important part of managing cystic fibrosis. Pulmonary function tests are machines that are used to assess lungs performances along and measure the basic function and volume. A pulmonary function test is taken in a special pulmonary function laboratory. Regular tests help the doctor assess if lungs are performing well or not. These tests also help them figure if the antibiotics and other treatments are working effectively.

3. Inhalers

Using metered dose inhaler is also an effective way to manage cystic fibrosis treatment.  Metered dose inhaler or an MDI is a device that is used to provide the lungs with measures amount of medicine directly. It is important to follow certain guidelines while using the inhaler to avoid wrong usage and probable accidents. Patient’s doctor can guide them to using the inhaler right.

4. Nebulizer

Managing cystic fibrosis also includes the usage of a nebulizer. It includes compressed air machine that converts liquid medicine into a mist that can be directly breathed into the lungs. Nebulizers help control many symptoms of cystic fibrosis, including mucus build-up. Ensuring one is using a nebulizer as directed will help them manage the condition well and collectively treat the symptoms.