The pancreas is an important organ where enzymes are created to break down the nutrients in the food we eat. Many cystic fibrosis patients find that their pancreases are not working correctly, as mucus build-up blocks the tubes carrying the nutrient-filled enzymes to the digestive system. Some of the enzymes remain in the pancreas which causes inflammation. Cystic fibrosis patients often need to take supplements which mimic these enzymes so they can fully digest their food and absorb the minerals and vitamins.
In addition, the pancreas makes insulin, which is a vital hormone for regulating blood sugar. Without adequate levels of insulin, cystic fibrosis patients can develop diabetes.