Cystic Fibrosis is complicated to manage. Click on a topic to read articles on airway clearance techniques, nutrition, updates on devices, or advice about CF complications.
Nutrition and CF
Good nutrition for a child or adult with CF means more than just eating a balanced, normal diet. A high-calorie diet containing all the essential nutrients without restriction on fat intake is recommended, along with pancreatic enzymes to control digestive symptoms, and supplemental fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K. To maintain weight, frequent and high-calorie meals and snacks are recommended.
What is a " good diet " for someone with CF?
Nutritional requirements for each person with CF are unique; there is no universal recommendation that applies to everyone. Requirements and recommendations depend on many factors including age, gender, severity of lung disease, malabsorption and the type of food a person likes. But there are some general recommendations for anyone with CF:
Most people with CF have a higher caloric requirement than other individuals of the same age and sex because:
- More energy is used in breathing.
- Extra energy is used in fighting infections and during fevers.
- Fewer of the energy-producing nutrients in food are properly digested and absorbed into the body, even when treatment is optimal.
Research has shown that good nutrition is important for pulmonary function, and can contribute to a longer life expectancy.
Vitamins A,D, E, and K are known as the fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins require an adequate amount of fat to be absorbed properly. Because people with CF can have problems with absorption of fat, it is important to replace these vitamins.
CF causes production of a thick mucus that plugs the duct leading from the pancreas to the small intestine. Consequently, the enzymes produced by the pancreas to help digest food cannot move into the small intestine. If left untreated, one result is malabsorption, an inability to properly absorb nutrients. To compensate for this enzyme shortage, many people with CF must take replacement pancreatic enzymes.
When Do I Take Enzymes?
Enzymes must be taken to help digest every meal and snack, except for snacks that are virtually free of protein, starch, and fat (such as apple juice). Studies show that enzyme preparations are equally effective when taken anywhere from a half-hour before to a half-hour after eating. That way, the enzymes are in the small intestine when needed.
What If I Can't Eat Enough Calories?
Some people with CF cannot take in enough calories by mouth to gain or maintain weight. For them, calories and all the essential nutrients can be given by tube feedings. Many achieve excellent nutrition through this method.
Is There Any Help With Nutritional Products?
The Scandipharm Comprehensive Care Program for CFTM provides free ADEKs® multivitamins, Scandishake® nutritional supplements, and Flutter® mucus-clearance devices to people taking Ultrase®. The program enhances Scandipharm's mission of improving the overall quality of care, while lowering its cost. For more information on this program, talk to one of the CF team members.
How Can I Manage CF and Nutrition?
The key to managing nutritional needs successfully is to match dietary needs to each individual:
- Assess individual needs
- Adjust for clinical status
- Factor in age-related needs
A comprehensive nutritional management plan developed jointly by the CF Team, the person with CF, and the family is needed.
Pulmonary Function Tests