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J Bras Pneumol. 2007 Mar-Apr;33(2):213-21.

Diabetes mellitus in patients with cystic fibrosis.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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  • 1Pediatric Endocrinology Residency Program, Universidade Federal da Bahia, School of Medicine, Salvador, BA, Brasil. <>


Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) is the principal extra-pulmonary complication of cystic fibrosis, occurring in 15-30% of adult cystic fibrosis patients. The number of cystic fibrosis patients who develop diabetes is increasing in parallel with increases in life expectancy. The aim of this study was to review the physiopathology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of CFRD. A bibliographic search of the Medline and Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature databases was made. Articles were selected from among those published in the last twenty years. Insulin deficiency, caused by reduced beta-cell mass, is the main etiologic mechanism, although insulin resistance also plays a role. Presenting features of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, CFRD typically affects individuals of approximately 20 years of age. It can also be accompanied by fasting, non-fasting or intermittent hyperglycemia. Glucose intolerance is associated with worsening of nutritional status, increased morbidity, decreased survival and reduced pulmonary function. Microvascular complications are always present, although macrovascular complications are rarely seen. An oral glucose tolerance test is recommended annually for patients > or = 10 years of age and for any patients presenting unexplained weight loss or symptoms of diabetes. Patients hospitalized with severe diseases should also be screened. If fasting hyperglycemia persists for more than 48 h, insulin therapy is recommended. Insulin administration remains the treatment of choice for diabetes and fasting hyperglycemia. Calories should not be restricted, and patients with CFRD should be managed by a multidisciplinary team.

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