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What are the Different Types of Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis?

By Jennifer Long
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are several common types of therapy for cystic fibrosis, including antibiotics and assisted breathing. The therapies that are used help with managing cystic fibrosis symptoms because the disease does not have a cure. Treating cystic fibrosis symptoms helps those who suffer from the disease have the ability to maintain a better quality of life. Cystic fibrosis does not have a cure, which makes reducing and controlling symptoms an important part of a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses all of the aspects of being inflicted with a debilitating and life changing disease.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetically inherited disease that causes a variety of problems throughout the body. This disease is characterized by thick mucous that blocks the bronchi in the lungs. Mucous blockages cause symptoms that mimic chronic bronchitis and pneumonia, such as a cough, bacterial pneumonia, and a decrease in lung functioning. Cystic fibrosis can also cause infertility, sinus infections, and diarrhea. Therapy for cystic fibrosis aims to stop these symptoms.

Physiotherapy for cystic fibrosis is part of a complete cystic fibrosis treatment plan. A cystic fibrosis specialist creates a customized plan for each patient. This helps doctors treat the symptoms that occur based on the methods each patient’s symptoms respond to. Many of the treatments for cystic fibrosis are physical in nature, such as antibiotics for infection and inhaled medicines to help open airways.

One of the most common problems associated with this disease is excess mucous production. It not only causes breathing problems, but also makes a patient prone to lung infections. Inhalers and nebulizers provide medication therapy for cystic fibrosis that targets the mucous directly through the airways.

Antibiotic therapy for cystic fibrosis can be two-fold. Medicines can be used to prevent an infection with a daily maintenance dosage. They can also be used to treat infections as they occur. Patients are often prescribed low doses of antibiotics to prevent the recurrence of chronic infections. Other patients do not respond to maintenance antibiotic therapy, but do respond well to treatments for specific infections as they occur.

Other medications are included in therapy for cystic fibrosis. Pain relievers, both prescription and over the counter, are used to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation. Alternative treatments, such as antioxidants, for cystic fibrosis are also recommended to relieve symptoms. Healthy lungs contain natural antioxidants, but the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis have a deficiency. Researchers believe that adding antioxidants can help reduce infection and inflammation.

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