Treatments for cystic fibrosis include medications, physical therapy for the chest, pulmonary rehabilitation and surgery. While cystic fibrosis does not have a cure, as of 2015, treatment can reduce the complications and ameliorate the symptoms. Early, diligent monitoring and interventions are recommended, as stated by Mayo Clinic.
When it comes to medications, options include antibiotics to fight lung infections, mucous thinners to help with coughing the mucus up, oral pancreatic enzymes to facilitate nutrient absorption in the intestines, and bronchodilators to relax muscles around the bronchial tubes and maintain open airways, notes Mayo Clinic.
Chest physical therapy is designed to loosen the dense mucus inside the lungs. Using a chest clapper, an inflatable vest or a breathing device helps to break the mucus apart and ease breathing, according to Mayo Clinic. The chest clapper acts like cupped hands clapping on top of the ribs and the inflatable vest vibrates against the chest. The breathing device, usually a mask or a tube, is used during breathing exercises.
Pulmonary rehabilitation takes place on an outpatient basis and can include exercise training, dietary counseling, breathing strategies, psychological therapy and techniques for saving energy. Surgical options include a lung transplant, endoscopy and mucous lavage, and removal of polyps from the nose, states Mayo Clinic.