Cystic fibrosis is an inherited illness that causes serious damage to the lungs, digestive system, and other organs in the body. In people with cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes mucus, sweat, and digestive juices to become sticky and thick, causing blockages instead of lubricating crucial areas. Those living with cystic fibrosis require daily care due to their symptoms, which can include respiratory issues, poor weight gain, and repeated lung infections. This cystic fibrosis life expectancy guide will provide you with valuable information about how to care for a loved one with cystic fibrosis and provide them with the highest quality of life possible.
Cystic Fibrosis Average Life Expectancy
The severity of cystic fibrosis varies from person to person, so their life expectancy may vary as well. Typically, a person living with cystic fibrosis can expect to live for an average of 37.5 years. This depends on multiple factors, including cleanliness, the severity of complications such as lung infections, and treatment. This figure is increasing thanks to new treatments and medications discovered by researchers in the field. Children born in the 2000s with cystic fibrosis are now expected to live well into their 50s, a significant increase compared to prior eras.
Caring for a Loved One with Cystic Fibrosis
There are multiple facets of caring for someone with cystic fibrosis, from their physical well being to their emotional health. It’s important to continue communicating with your loved one’s care team throughout their treatment to ensure that they are receiving the best care.
A good diet is important for patients with cystic fibrosis. They require a diet that is high in calories to help them gain weight and have energy, as the illness can take away much of their ability to absorb nutrients. They typically also have difficulty replacing salt and water in their bodies, so extra fluids and salty foods can be helpful to maintaining good health. A dietician can help you plan the proper diet for your loved one.
Encouraging your loved one to exercise by walking, swimming, or even doing yoga can be beneficial to their health. Exercise increases strength and endurance of the muscles used for breathing while loosening mucus to improve breathing. Speak with your loved one’s doctor to learn more about what types of exercise might be beneficial for them.
Through postural drainage, a caregiver positions their loved one’s body in a way that helps ease breathing and prevent infections. Chest percussion, or clapping the chest with a cupped hand, helps vibrate the airways in the lungs and allow your loved one to more easily cough up mucus for easier breathing. A respiratory therapist can teach you these helpful treatments.
Living with cystic fibrosis can cause more than physical pain. It can also result in serious emotional turmoil, from concerns about the meaning of one’s life to the fear of not knowing what comes next. Providing a compassionate, listening ear for your loved one when they want to discuss these difficult topics — and patience if they become angry about their situation — are essential. Therapists, counselors, and spiritual advisors can provide your loved one with more structured ways to discuss their feelings. Many patients prefer speaking with professionals because they feel freer to talk about things that they would rather not speak about with their families and friends.
Benefits of Hospice Care
Caring for a loved one with cystic fibrosis can be overwhelming. If you feel that extra support is necessary, hospice care services may be beneficial. These services are provided to patients whose doctors have determined have six months or fewer to live and who have ended their curative treatment plans. A team of nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals will create a customized plan that ensures your loved one’s comfort at this stage of their life. Hospice care plans can include assistance with pain management, exercise, emotional and spiritual support, diet, and even light cleaning around the house. Family caregivers also receive access to their own counseling services and the guidance of medical professionals.
Families receiving hospice care services can be sure that their loved ones will be cared for compassionately. Medical professionals adjust their care plans based on your loved one’s needs and provide time for family caregivers to relax, recharge, or attend to other responsibilities as their loved ones receive care. This can make a real difference in their ability to continue caring for their loved one on their own.
Choosing Hospice Care
Speak to Harbor Light Hospice for more information about cystic fibrosis and how hospice care can improve your loved one’s quality of life. Harbor Light provides customized care plans for families and patients, ensuring that their needs are being met at every stage of illness. The organization offers hospice care in homes and other medical facilities, allowing your loved one to remain as independent and comfortable as possible while they navigate this stage of life.