Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes

Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes (CFRD) is a type of diabetes that affects children and adults with cystic fibrosis.

What is Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes?

Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes (CFRD) is a type of diabetes that affects children and adults with cystic fibrosis (CF). Diabetes is a common complication for patients with cystic fibrosis . CFRD has characteristics that can be seen in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, such as:

  • Insulin insufficiency: The pancreas does not make enough insulin.
  • Insulin resistance: When cells in the body do not use insulin correctly, more insulin is needed to break down food and keep blood sugar levels normal.

What are the Symptoms?

 Symptoms can vary person to person. Some may not experience any symptoms. Others may experience symptoms such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained decline in lung function

What Causes CFRD?

The pancreas produces insulin. Cystic fibrosis, a condition characterized by thick, sticky mucus in the body, can cause scarring of the pancreas. Scarring can potentially affect the organ’s ability to produce adequate insulin.

Acute illnesses and underlying infections can cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is also caused by medications such as steroids that are used to treat patients with CF.

How is it Diagnosed?

If symptoms of diabetes are present, or if a patient with CF is 10 years of age or older, then an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is performed to diagnose CFRD.

It is recommended that CF patients who are 10 years and older should be tested for CFRD once per year.

How is CFRD Treated?

Treatment for CRFD is aimed at keeping blood sugar levels under control so patients can gain weight and increase muscle mass.  This makes patients feel better and have more energy. By maintaining the blood sugar levels in the normal range, complications of diabetes can be avoided.

CFRD is usually treated with insulin injections. It is important to monitor blood sugar levels, eat a normal healthy diet and stay active, along with using insulin therapy. 

Can CFRD be Treated or Cured?

There is no cure for CFRD. With proper treatment, CFRD can be managed and controlled.