About Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis and Nutrition: 6 Tips to Maintain a Good Diet

Once a person suffers from cystic fibrosis, almost every aspect of his life is affected, including nutrition. The buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other vital organs in the body will make it very difficult for the patient to absorb the necessary nutrients that are needed by the body for energy. Nevertheless, with proper guidance and help from a dietitian, the right nutrition can be achieved.

1. Increase calcium intake

A cystic fibrosis patient may not be providing enough nutrition to the bones, causing the development of bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis. It’s therefore important that a patient can increase the intake of calcium. This can be accomplished by drinking lots of milk and eating dairy foods, which are highly rich with the mineral.

2. Salt should be taken especially when the weather is hot

Children and adults who are suffering from cystic fibrosis will not only have to deal with lack of nutrition but also of loss of salt, especially during the summer. This is because much more salt is lost in perspiration than necessary. Patients can supplement themselves with sodium by going for a high-sodium diet, or by eating snacks that have high salt content, such as saltine crackers. It will not be advisable to eat junk foods, though, because of the preservatives they contain.

3. Eat

People with Cystic fibrosis aren’t able to absorb all necessary nutrients. This is because their body doesn’t produce the essential enzymes needed for food digestion. Since not enough energy is available, the patient will always feel tired or weak.

Fortunately, patients can take enzyme replacement pills to replace most of the unproduced body enzymes. This will enable them to absorb the majority of the nutrients. In addition, doctors advice to eat up to 50% more than RDA to provide the body with all needed proteins, sugars, fat, vitamins and minerals.

4. Boost the immune system

Cystic fibrosis can also weaken the immune system. This is because the body will somehow lose the capability to ward off infection. One can, however, help himself by adding the mineral zinc into its diet. Zinc is naturally available in eggs, seafood, and some meat. Cystic fibrosis children also need this to supplement the benefits they get from calcium, as well as to promote growth.

5. Take vitamin and mineral supplements

Vitamin and mineral intake from food will probably not be enough. Cystic fibrosis patients will be required to take special vitamin and mineral supplement prescribed by the doctor.

6. Go for tube feedings only in extreme cases

There are times when a cystic fibrosis patient will still not be able to reach the required nutrition level despite the supplements and the food that he is taking. The next best option to do is to go for tube feeding. This means that a cystic fibrosis sufferer will obtain enough nutrition through passing these vitamins and minerals directly into his stomach through a tube. This will definitely be uncomfortable, but it can absolutely boost the patient’s calorie intake to a normal level.

Disclaimer: This website provides general information about cystic fibrosis and in no means should be taken as a medical or health advice. Please consult your doctor before acting on any of its information.