Purpose of review: The aim is to provide a detailed review of recent publications on cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) with a particular focus on the interplay between cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease and diabetes.
Recent findings: CFRD is a form of diabetes that is distinct from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. CFRD remains very common and increases in prevalence with increasing age so that one in two middle-aged CF persons have CFRD. People with CFRD have lower lung function, worse nutrition, more frequent hospitalization, and worse mortality than CF people without diabetes. The excess mortality previously noted in women with CFRD compared with CF women without diabetes or CF men is much less apparent. CFRD is due to insulin deficiency and peripheral insulin resistance is much less a factor. Genetic susceptibility and oxidant stress are key risk factors for developing CFRD. The lung is the prime end organ target in CFRD and mortality is due to respiratory failure, not vascular complications. Insulin is the mainstay of therapy and early recognition and institution of therapy appear to improve health outcomes.
Summary: CFRD remains one of the most important co-morbidities in CF. Early recognition of the disease and therapeutic intervention may diminish the negative impact that diabetes has on lung health in CF. Although a clearer understanding of the role of oxidant stress and genetics in the pathogenesis of CFRD is being elucidated, much needs to be learned before more targeted, specific therapies can be developed for this distinct form of diabetes.