A common complication people with cystic fibrosis (CF) may experience is diabetes — also known as cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD), a unique type of diabetes. Around 40%–50% of adults with CF develop diabetes.1 CFRD has shares characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.2

The sticky and thick mucus common in CF damages the pancreas, leading to insufficient insulin production, much like in type 1 diabetes. The pancreas continues to produce insulin, but not enough to stay healthy. Likewise, people with CF don’t have a normal response to insulin (the hallmark of type 2 diabetes), a condition known as being “insulin resistant,” and one especially evident during an illness or when using steroid medications. In fact, insulin resistance has a major impact on those taking corticosteroids to treat CF symptoms.1

Most CFRD patients don’t know they are diabetic until the disease is diagnosed. For this reason, CF care guidelines for CFRD recommend that people with CF, ages 10 and older, undergo an oral glucose tolerance test every year.

CFRD symptoms include increased thirst and urination, excessive fatigue, weight loss, and an unexplained decline in lung function. But unlike people with type 1 and 2 diabetes, those with CFRD need to keep to a high-calorie diet to maintain a healthy body weight.

How is CFRD treated?

CFRD treatment includes keeping blood sugar normal levels (usually with insulin), monitoring blood-sugar level levels, maintaining an active lifestyle (150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week is recommended), and eating healthy foods.

There are different types of insulin, classified by how long they last in the body and how fast they work. Insulin improves nutrient absorption in order to maintain healthy body weight and nutritional status.2

Oral hypoglycemics, or anti-diabetic drugs, may be used if difficulties exist in taking insulin.1

Exercise is important to maintaining good lung function and improving the body’s response to insulin. Again, people with CFRD are advised to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (like jogging, walking quickly, or playing sports) each week and to regularly have their blood glucose levels tested to manage CFRD.2

 

Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

  1. http://www.diabetes.co.uk/cystic-fibrosis.html
  2. https://www.cff.org/Living-with-CF/Cystic-Fibrosis-related-Diabetes/

Firms Will Test Digital Platform to Help Patients Manage CF-Related Diabetes

Attain Health will partner with DarioHealth, a digital health and big data solutions company, to test its Dario Engage platform to monitor blood sugar levels in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with CF-related diabetes (CFRD). Attain Health provides integrative health coaching for CF patients. CFRD is an unusual form of diabetes estimated to affect some 30,000 CF patients […]

Orkambi Not Seen to Significantly Improve Blood Glucose Levels in CF Patients in Small Study

Analysis of blood glucose levels in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients being treated with Orkambi (ivacaftor/lumacaftor) shows that the therapy has minimal impact on glycemic control, a small study reports. Up to 50 percent of adults with cystic fibrosis develop diabetes, making so-called CF-related diabetes (CFRD) the most common comorbidity, or coexisting condition, in these patients. The […]

Sugar Does the Trick, But I Won’t Let It Trick Me

Mom never had to force me to eat my veggies. Matter of fact, she tried to force me to eat less of them. There was nothing quite as refreshing as coming home from a stressful day of middle school and popping open a can of black-eyed peas or a fresh container of grape tomatoes, paired with […]

Abnormal Glucose Levels Linked to Poorer Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis Youth, Study Shows

Abnormalities in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) measures correlate with a decline in lung function in children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis (CF), a study suggests. The study, “Continuous glucose monitoring abnormalities in cystic fibrosis youth correlate with pulmonary function decline,” was published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. CF-related diabetes (CFRD) is the most frequent […]

Pancreas Abnormality Increases Risk of Children with CF Developing Diabetes, Study Suggests

A pancreas abnormality is a sign that young children with cystic fibrosis may develop diabetes later in life, a study reports. The abnormality is fewer cells that produce and regulate blood sugar. These beta cells are part of clusters of different cells that scientists call islets. Researchers published their work in the journal Scientific Reports. […]

High Airway Glucose Levels and P. aeruginosa Infection Linked to Worsening in CF

Hyperglycemia (high glucose/sugar levels) and infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria can acidify the airway surface liquid in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), especially in those with diabetes as well, contributing to disease pathogenesis, researchers report. Their study, “Hyperglycaemia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa acidify cystic fibrosis airway surface liquid by elevating epithelial monocarboxylate transporter 2 dependent lactate-H+ secretion,” was […]

#NACFC2016 – Kalydeco Seen to Improve Insulin Secretion in Patients with CF-related Diabetes

Kalydeco (ivacaftor), an approved therapy for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with a specific mutation, improves insulin secretion in those with CF-related diabetes, researchers led by Ronald Rubenstein, MD, with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, found. The mechanism underlying this benefit, however, remains unknown. The results were presented today at the 30th Annual North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference, in Orlando, Florida, […]

Northern Ireland Scientists Lead Global Study on CF Related Diabetes Treatments

A team of scientists from Ulster University, in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, have joined a nearly $980,000  global research study seeking alternative treatment options for patients with cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD). The new three-year Strategic Research Centre (SRC) study is the first of its kind funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to look at how genetic defects responsible for […]

ProMetic to Begin Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Anti-Fibrotic Oral Drug in CF Patients

ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. recently announced that Health Canada has approved the initiation of a clinical trial assessing the company’s anti-fibrotic lead drug candidate, PBI-4050, in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). The Phase 2 study, which is expected to begin in shortly, aims to evaluate the drug’s effects on pancreatic and lung function in CF patients. Abnormal glucose tolerance […]