Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease affecting about 30,000 people in the U.S. alone. People with CF produce sticky, thick mucus which affects the cell function of the lungs, pancreas, intestines and reproductive organs. It scars the pancreas, which prevents the production of reasonable amounts of insulin. This mucus also blocks the flow of insulin (enzymes) into the intestines, which in turn prevents proper digestion of food; which often leads to Type 2 diabetes. Over 40% of the individuals with CF, ages 30 and up, have developed Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD).
Symptoms, Screening, and Diagnosis
Many people with Cystic Fibrosis don’t recognize the symptoms of CFRD because diabetes symptoms are similar to other CF symptoms. Some common symptoms, like increased thirst and urination, are also caused by high blood sugar levels. Other symptoms of CFRD are excessive fatigue, weight loss, and an unexplained decline in lung function. The only way to be sure is to be tested for diabetes. The CF Care Guidelines for CFRD recommend that people with CF ages 10 and older be tested every year for CFRD with an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). HbA1c is not recommended as a screening test for CFRD since it is often low in people with CF.