Cystic fibrosis is a serious disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. Currently, due to the complexity of this disease, we have no known cure for cystic fibrosis. However, medical scientists and doctors have made many new advances in the treatment of CF allowing people with cystic fibrosis a greater quality of life.
Cystic Fibrosis Treatments
Although there is no known cure for cystic fibrosis, many treatment options are available. Many of these treatments help the respiratory and digestive systems to function better. Your CF doctor will know what personal care plan is best for you. Here are just a few of the treatments available for cystic fibrosis.
When you have cystic fibrosis, there are a number of medications available to you. Oftentimes you need to take more than one medication to help your lungs and your digestive system. These medications may be administered by ingesting them, inhaling them, or even through a port.
CF doctors often prescribe antibiotics to their patients. This helps control lung infections that occur due to the buildup of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs. Oftentimes this mucus causes the lungs to trap harmful bacteria resulting in a serious infection. Antibiotics not only treat the infection, but they also help prevent additional infections.
Inhaled medications may also help thin mucus buildup in the lungs. These medications are referred to as mucolytics. They loosen up mucus which helps you to easily expel this excess buildup.
Digestive enzymes help balance your body’s nutritional needs. Since CF prevents the body from getting helpful nutrients, outside medications with enzymes aid your body in absorbing what it needs to function properly. In addition to these, doctors sometimes suggest taking vitamins and minerals to make sure you gain the maximum amount of nutrients you need.
There are many medication options for patients with cystic fibrosis. After your doctor evaluates you, he will know how to properly advise you on which medications will be most helpful for you.
Keeping your lungs and airways clear can be difficult when you have cystic fibrosis. A number of airway clearance techniques (ACTs) have been created to aid in ridding your lungs of the excess mucus.
The active cycle of breathing technique (ACBT) is a three-step breathing exercise. It begins with intentionally relaxed breathing followed by an exercise that expands the chest. These steps help loosen up the mucus buildup in your chest, and the final step is completed when you cough out the loosened mucus.
Chest physical therapy is another popular ACT. This technique involves the help of another person. First, you lay in a position in which gravity will help the mucus drain easily. Then the other person cups their hands and claps you on the side or the back. This process also helps to force the mucus out of your lungs and help you expel this excess.
People with CF may also use an ACT called a high-frequency chest wall oscillating vest. This vest is hooked up to a machine that creates vibrations and compresses the chest. This loosens the mucus in the walls of your airways allowing you to rid your lungs of the excess buildup.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes a person’s genes to be mutated. This mutation occurs in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. Due to this, people with CF have many problems that affect the lungs and digestive system. However, there is good news! According to the CF Foundation, many new developments have been made in the past ten years regarding the gene mutation that causes CF. Scientists have discovered a way to introduce a non-mutated CFTR gene into a person’s body. This allows the person’s body to correctly produce the CFTR proteins. This does not provide a cure for cystic fibrosis, but gene therapy helps reduce CF symptoms in the lungs.
There is another great way that you can manage your cystic fibrosis. At-home spirometry allows you to measure your lung function conveniently at home. This test is often given in a doctor’s office but is now being made available through products like Aluna to take at home. This test measures how much air you are able to expel into a tube. This information is so helpful when you have cystic fibrosis because it clearly shows you how well your lungs are performing. Daily spirometry tests help you to measure out what is normal for you and allows you to quickly see when something is not quite right. This information helps prevent serious complications and even costly hospital stays. At-home spirometry is a great addition to cystic fibrosis daily care.