At this time, cystic fibrosis has no cure and is a chronic condition requiring extensive medical management over the lifetime of the patient. However, there are plenty of treatment options available to help patients cope with and manage the effects of this genetic disorder, while extending the life spans of patients dramatically in recent years. In addition, the medical efficacy of new and ongoing cystic fibrosis treatments is increasing, thus also markedly increasing the quality of life of cystic fibrosis patients.
Cystic Fibrosis Explained
Caused by a genetic mutation, cystic fibrosis typical presents itself as a respiratory illness causing breathing complications in patients, while also subjecting patients to a lifelong increased risk for respiratory infections. However, cystic fibrosis is known to impact other organ systems in patients. Commonly cited issues include digestive, liver, and pancreatic complications, as well as developmental growth problems being the most commonly cited medical issues. As cystic fibrosis is an ongoing medical condition, any cystic fibrosis treatment plan will require ongoing alterations to cope with medical complications as they emerge.
Examples of Different Cystic Fibrosis Treatments
Treatment plans are intended to help with specific problems as part of the overall long-term management of the patient’s cystic fibrosis condition. Therefore, if CF is causing lung infections in one sufferer and digestive problems in another, two very different medical issues need to be treated, perhaps in conjunction with one another in certain patients. Because of this, treatment plans are not only broken down by the level of severity presenting in the patient, but by the individual symptoms as well.
Treatments for Lung Problems
Lung problems are one of the most common and most recognized complications to cystic fibrosis. The severity of the medical issues facing patients as linked to cystic fibrosis ultimately dictate the intensity and extent of treatment options, however, common solutions for CF-related lung problems include:
- Respiratory physiotherapy, to strengthen lung capacity, while loosening phlegm and mucus buildup in the lungs
- Oxygen therapy, as well as the use of a litany of different inhalers and nebulizers to increase lung capacity
- Active monitoring and treatment of chronic lung and other infections, which is a hallmark of cystic fibrosis patient symptoms and may ultimately require an in-line catheter to administer antibiotic treatments regularly
- Using medications and respiratory treatments, such as Ivacaftor, IPV devices, thAIRapy vests, and the newer BiPhasic Cuirass Ventilation systems to cope with diminished lung capacity, fluid buildup, and provide some respite for patients
In certain cases, patients with cystic fibrosis may ultimately require a double lung transplant to address their respiratory deficiencies.
Other Known Complications Found in Cystic Fibrosis Patients and Treatment Options
The largest complication with cystic fibrosis is the chronic nature of the condition, in the sense that pre-existing health problems have the propensity to compound other newly developed health issues, which may be as minor as infections, but also include potentially lethal organ failures. In all cases, long-term managed care by a team of professionals is required for the maintenance of an individual suffering from cystic fibrosis. Moreover, treatments are highly expensive, and as such, cost-considerations occasionally play a role in the appropriate treatment routes. Finally, the disparate nature of cerebral palsy conditions, which include the four subtypes, require essentially case-specific management of the condition without regards to any universal rubric. In this sense, the totality of the well-being of the patient necessarily includes addressing known medical issues, but also, addressing social, developmental, emotional, educational, and quality of life issues simultaneously.
What Treatment Can Do and Finding the Right Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Plan
In order to come up with a treatment plan, an individual with cystic fibrosis should consult with a doctor. Cystic fibrosis specialists are the best equipped to create a treatment plan and work with a patient suffering with this disease. This is especially true in light of the multi-faceted and variegated manifestations of the genetic condition, which affects numerous organ systems depending on the patient. A good physician should work with the patient to come up with the plan that is right for that individual. Therefore, it is important that CF sufferers make sure their doctor is individualizing the treatment plan to their specific needs.