Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a potentially life-threatening disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract. Persons with cystic fibrosis need to eat high calorie and high protein foods throughout the day.
This article discusses the nutritional needs for persons with CF. For specific information about the disease itself, see the article on cystic fibrosis.
Your pancreas is an organ that sits in your belly behind your stomach. An important job of your pancreas is to make enzymes. These enzymes help your body digest and absorb protein and fats. However, the build-up of sticky mucus in the pancreas from cystic fibrosis can lead to serious problems, including:
Because of these problems, people with cystic fibrosis may have a hard time maintaining a normal weight. Even if your weight is normal, you may not be getting the correct nutrition. Children with cystic fibrosis may not grow or develop correctly.
The following are methods for adding protein and calories to the diet. In addition to these tips, make sure that you are taking a multivitamin containing vitamins A, D, E and K.
Enzymes, vitamins, and salt:
Getting more calories and protein:
Stallings VA, Stark LF, Robinson KA, Feranchak AP, Quinton H. Evidence-based practice recommendations for nutrition-related management of children and adults with cystic fibrosis and pancreatic insufficiency: Results of a systematic review. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2008;108:832-839.
Egan M. Cystic fibrosis. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 395.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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