There is no cure for cystic fibrosis but many treatments can help with managing symptoms, including:
Ongoing medical care
Chest physical therapy
Breathing techniques can help as well:
- Forced expiration technique (FET)-forcing out a couple of breaths or huffs and then doing relaxed breathing.
- Active cycle breathing (ACB)-FET with deep breathing exercises that can loosen the mucus in your lungs and help open your airways.
- Autogenic Drainage is a breathing and cough control technique that can be very effective as a secretion clearance. It does require instruction and practice to perfect the technique. For more information, see Caring for Your Symptoms at Home.
Good self-management is important to your overall health, and includes:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Avoiding tobacco smoke.
- Exercising frequently.
- Doing chest physical therapy every day.
- Drinking lots of fluids.
- Washing your hands often to reduce your chances of infection.
Aside from antibiotics, other medications may help reduce inflammation in your lungs caused by ongoing infections. These medications include:
- Inhaled or oral steroids are the most effective anti-inflammatory.
- Ibuprofen, a type of nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medicine, may slow the progress of CF in young children with mild symptoms.
- Bronchodilators are inhaled drugs that relax the muscles around the airways so that they can open up. They should be taken just before chest physical therapy to help clear mucus.
Mucus-thinning drugs reduce the stickiness of mucus in your airways. They include:
- Human DNase (dornase alfa), a drug that loosens the mucus in your lungs. It may lead to shorter hospital stays.
- Hypertonic saline, a solution of very salty sterile water taken by nebulizer two times a day, can help clear mucus and improve lung function.