Top tips to help you manage CF-related diabetes
How do you diagnose CFRD?
Julie: Mostly people are diagnosed at their annual reviews. We also check blood glucose for all our inpatients for three days; if there are any abnormal results, we get them to test at home and if these results continue, we will diagnose them with CFRD.
How does CFRD affect the dietary advice you give to people with CF?
Julie: It’s largely the same advice we give to people without diabetes; eat complex carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, and cereal, which are slower to digest and cause a slow rise in blood glucose, and cut down on sugary drinks and sweets, which are easily digested and can cause a rapid rise in blood glucose. If someone has a low BMI we would advise having sugary drinks and sweets at meal times only.
Prepare for the unpredictable! Always travel with lots of needles, as well as lots of sugarPerson with CF
Listen to your body!Person with CF
What do you find is the biggest challenge for people with CFRD?
Julie: People don’t like pricking their fingers to measure their blood glucose, but it’s essential for good diabetes control. There is a new sensor called the Freestyle Libre, which stays on the arm and allows you to measure blood glucose with a reader or a smart phone.
How do you decide the best way for someone to manage their insulin?
Julie: We use blood glucose data from different points throughout the day, a detailed food chart and information about exercise, then work with the CF nurses and the endocrinologist (specialist doctor in diabetes) to decide the best insulin for the individual.
The more you monitor, the easier it is to controlPerson with CF
Ask your GP for the Freestyle Libre – it’s awesomePerson with CF
What should friends and family know about CFRD?
Julie: People with CF will be given advice from a CF Specialist Dietitian; there is not one diet for all, so if you see someone eating cake or chocolate, or having a spoon of sugar in their tea or coffee, that’s okay!
It’s scary at first, but don’t let it overrule your life, do everything the doctor tells you and you’ll be just fine!Person with CF
There are lots of apps out there that can help you with carb countingPerson with CF
Find out more about how CFRD (cystic fibrosis-related diabetes) differs from type 1 or type 2 diabetes, which symptoms to expect and how to help treat it.
Our Helpline is available to anyone looking for information or support with any aspect of cystic fibrosis, a listening ear, or just to talk things through. Our friendly team are here if you need us.
CF-related diabetes research
Exactly how CFRD develops in the body isn’t fully understood and that’s why we’re funding research to find out. Read more about what we’ve learnt from our funding so far, and how ongoing research could pave the way for insulin-injection free treatments in the future.