Can Better Nutrition Slow the Progression of Cystic Fibrosis?
People with cystic fibrosis (CF) can have a hard time getting the nutrients they need. Not only is the way food is advertised and consumed in society working against their best intentions, but with CF, the body itself is working against that, too.
But what if better nutrition could slow the progression of the disease?
The problem is, with CF, food is not always digested and absorbed well.
Food is not always digested and absorbed well in cystic fibrosis. Such people have a hard time absorbing food since the disease produces a thickened secretion from the gallbladder and pancreas. This makes it difficult for nutrients to be digested and absorbed, along with getting the right amount of vitamins, fats, and proteins. With age, even pancreatic function tends to worsen. With all these road blocks, it is even more important that a person with CF avoid further inhibition of nutrients, and they should make sure to consume the right amount of nutrients.
Research and Evidence
In patients with CF, nutritional issues are complex and difficult to manage. Nutritional support is essential in patients with lung disease. A combination of proper nutrition with a pulmonary rehabilitation program is the best treatment. If nutrition is insufficient in people with CF, it can result in bone disease due to a lack of calcium, vitamins K and D, and phosphorus. To help prevent bone disease, patients are recommended to consume adequate amounts of these nutrients.
According to researchers, loss of lung function is the main cause of CF progression and mortality. This inability for the lungs to function is called pulmonary cachexia.
Liver disease is another common complication in patients with CF. About 20 to 40 percent of people with CF will develop liver disease at some point. Such patients often have chronic malabsorption of fat, so it is important to ensure that people with cystic fibrosis take in adequate amounts of soluble vitamins and fats.
For CF patients, another common barrier to adequate nutrition absorption is diabetes mellitus, which is associated with mortality especially in females. It causes a lack of insulin production and insulin resistance. Diabetes mellitus related to CF has been associated with a decreased nutritional status, poor lung function, and an increase in lung infections. Insulin treatments have shown to be helpful, though. In order to maintain a good nutritional status, it is important to discover CFDM quickly while creating the patient’s nutrition plan.
The Importance of Nutrition Guidance
Work with your registered dietitian to come up with a nutrition plan that is suitable for you. It is important to be aware of the normal functioning of the body, as this will help to identify what is wrong. No matter how sensitive these topics are, it is important to share them with your healthcare provider. Such information will help them to restructure the nutrition plan accordingly.
The progression of the disease can be slowed down in patients with CF through a combination of therapies. Nutrition is thus only one factor in the equation, but it alone can be very helpful; from a holistic perspective, it is important to look at. There are many factors such as stress that play an important role in the overall health of the person, so the course of CF cannot be changed only by proper nutrition; managing stress is also important. CF can be positively impacted by combining proper nutrition with a pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Nutrition programs and restrictions can be helpful in preventing additional complications, although they may be difficult to stick to. Manage your stress and work closely with your healthcare provider.