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Cystic fibrosis lung treatments increase longevity and quality of life

Oxygen can help with patient comfort.
Oxygen can help with patient comfort.
Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

There is no known cure for cystic fibrosis. Lung treatment options focus on longevity and comfort. Cystic fibrosis patients are living longer now than in the past due to better treatment options. Keeping lungs clear is accomplished with several treatment methods. Here are some of the lung related medical treatments available for patients with cystic fibrosis.

Flu vaccinations

Patients with cystic fibrosis are highly susceptible to lung infections. For this reason it's recommended that treatments include yearly flu vaccinations. These patients can't risk catching the flu as it further compromises breathing quality. Those with objections to vaccinations should isolate themselves from places or people at high risk.

Antibiotic treatments

Cystic fibrosis patients are often given strong antibiotic regimens to treat and prevent lung infection. Caution must be used with these treatments to avoid the development of antibiotic resistance. The other danger in using high dose antibiotics is the risk that patients may develop fungal infections.

Lung drainage

In this treatment, the cystic fibrosis patient is positioned to make lung drainage possible. The patient is then tapped and vibrated repeatedly with a mechanical aid to loosen mucus in the lungs. Once loosened the mucus is encouraged to drain due to the ideal position of the patient.

Enzyme replacement

Recently a specialized treatment for cystic fibrosis has been FDA approved. It involves inhaling an aerosolized enzyme called Pulmozyme. This treatment thins lung mucus so that it drains and breaks up more readily.

Exercise

Regular exercise promotes healthy lung function. Treatment for cystic fibrosis includes some form of regular exercise, provided it does not put the patient at further risk. Exercise promotes healthy oxygen flow through the lungs.

Oxygen

Despite regular exercise treatments, some cystic fibrosis patients do not get enough oxygen to the lungs. Lack of oxygen causes fatigue and other complications. This is especially true in patients not well enough for regular exercise. Extra oxygen can make a huge difference in patient comfort.

Inhaled medicines

Popular treatments to ease breathing for cystic fibrosis patients include inhaled medicines. Albuterol is one such medicine that helps keep airways open. Doctors may prescribe inhaled decongestants delivered by a nebulizer.

Lung replacement

In certain cases, lung transplants may be a beneficial treatment for cystic fibrosis. There are many factors to consider when deciding if a lung transplant is right for the patient. Doctors will inform patients of all risks so they may make an educated choice.

Please note: The author is not a licensed medical professional. This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice.

Sources:

Medline Plus

Mayo Clinic

This article was previously published by this author on a closed Yahoo! property.