How is cystic fibrosis treated?

Management and treatment of cystic fibrosis is lifelong, ongoing and relentless. A person with cystic fibrosis may consume up to 80 capsules daily to help digest food and may require four hours of airway clearance physiotherapy each day. It is important for people with cystic fibrosis to visit a cystic fibrosis treatment centre several times each year so their progress can be monitored.

Treatment generally involves:

  • Intensive daily physiotherapy to clear the lungs.
  • Enzyme replacement capsules with food to aid digestion.
  • Antibiotic therapy to treat lung infections.
  • Aerosol mist inhalations via a nebuliser to help open the airways.
  • Salt and vitamin supplements.
  • A nutritious diet that is also high calorie, high salt and high fat.
  • Exercise – important to help clear the airways and build core strength.

A person living with cystic fibrosis must do all of this while continuing their normal daily activities like going to school or work. People with cystic fibrosis are not encouraged to socialise with each other. The risk of cross infection and exacerbation of lung conditions is too great. That means cystic fibrosis can be a lonely existence because people with cystic fibrosis cannot personally interact to share experiences and offer support.