Call Us: 800.658.6046

CFRD: Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes

Wed, 12/23/2015 - 10:47 -- IV Solutions

There are generally two types of diabetes.

Type 1: When the pancreas stops making insulin

Type 2: When the body becomes unable to use insulin properlyCystic fibrosis-related diabetes has aspects of both these types of diabetes, but it is distinct in a number of ways.

Since cystic fibrosis can cause blockage and scarring of the pancreas, inhibiting enzyme delivery and insulin production, people with CF are at a high risk of developing a unique type of diabetes (CFRD). CFRD is found in approximately 20% of adolescents with CF and 40-50% of adults with CF.

Symptoms & Testing of CFRD

Some of the initial indicators of CFRD are:

  • increased thirst
  • increased frequency of urination
  • increased tiredness
  • weight loss without change in diet or activity
  • unexplained decline in lung function

Untreated diabetes can have many profound and damaging effects on the body. This makes it incredibly important to consult with a physician if you have cystic fibrosis and experience any combination of the symptoms above. If left untreated, CFRD can result in complications as severe as retinal damage, kidney disease, and even nerve damage.

The oral glucose tolerance test is the best way to test for CFRD. It is most commonly performed after an 8 hour fast (in the morning) and tests the blood sugar at 1 hour and 2 hours after consuming a 75g glucose solution.

Diagnosis & Treatment of CFRD

Fortunately, it has been recognized that earlier diagnosis of CFRD greatly improved outcomes and quality of life. Studies have concluded that screening should commence yearly at the age of 10 in all patients with cystic fibrosis. This ensures that no one remain undiagnosed and suffer systemic damage from CFRD.

While some people can control their blood sugar by taking tablets, a majority of people with CFRD obtain better results from injected insulin treatments. Patients are also encouraged to maintain a regular and consistent diet and to consult with a physician about individual diet needs to manage their CFRD.

It is also important to measure blood sugar and insulin levels during pregnancy. This is because the onset of gestational diabetes is also more common in women with cystic fibrosis. The earliest diagnosis ensures that you received the prenatal you need to keep yourself and your baby healthy.

Learn more about Cystic Fibrosis with us

Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms

The first step towards managing cystic fibrosis is understanding the symptoms. Read more about what the symptoms are, how to manage them, and how to prevent further complications.

Cystic Fibrosis & Common Complications

Cystic fibrosis has many variations and the symptoms can be quite different from case to case. But, there are a few common complications that are important to keep in mind throughout your cystic fibrosis treatment. Respiratory infections, malnutrition, and related diabetes are a few.

Cystic Fibrosis Diet

Cystic fibrosis provides specific challenges to diet and make healthy eating different from people without CF. It’s more important to consume a high calorie diet loaded with dairy. It’s also important to supplement with enzymes and vitamins to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need.

Become part of the IV Solutions CF Family

IV Solutions isn’t just a pharmacy for cystic fibrosis medications, we are proud to be an individualized CF treatment provider. We build each patient a custom program to help them achieve optimal therapy outcomes. We’re here to support you through individualized instruction, proactive refill reminders, on-going care coordination, 1 on 1 counseling, and clinical intervention.

IV Solutions is an active participant and promoter of the CF Community. Visit our Facebook page for more resources on cystic fibrosis.If you’re interested in enrolling in an individualized CF care plan, visit our patient page and contact us today.


Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. May 12, 2015. Accessed Sept 16, 2015

Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD). Diabetes CO UK. March 27, 2013. Accessed Sept 16, 2015

Clinical Care Guidelines for Cystic Fibrosis. American Diabetes Association. Dec 1, 2010. Accessed Sept 16, 2015

Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Cystic Fibrosis Trust. October 2012. Accessed Sept 16, 2015

Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes (CFRD). Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Nov 18, 2009. Accessed Sept 16, 2015

How Can We Prevent Multisystem Complications of Cystic Fibrosis? Medscape Multispecialty. 2007. Accessed Sept 16, 2015