23-11-2015 | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Mindfulness Training May Enhance the Psychological Well-Being of People with Cystic Fibrosis
Michail Mantzios, Helen Egan
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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common life-limiting genetic disease in the UK (Jackson and Pencharz
; Abbott et al.
) with increasing numbers in the USA (>30.000).It is caused by defects in a recessive gene (CFTR) located on chromosome seven (Abbott et al.
) allowing too much salt and water into cells, increasing the production of mucus and impairing the functioning of the respiratory tract and the pancreas (Kerem et al.
). This increase in mucus impacts upon the clearance of microorganisms leading to recurrent infections, inflammation of the respiratory tract, lung damage and eventually respiratory failure resulting in death (Abbott et al.
). CF causes the pancreatic ducts to become blocked, preventing the production of digestive enzymes, leading to the maldigestion and malabsorption of nutrients (Abbott et al.
; Sinaasappel et al.
). CF can also cause the development of secondary conditions such as diabetes mellitus and chronic liver damage; other complications may include pneumothorax, haemoptysis and osteoporosis (Abbott et al.
; Couce et al.
). Medical advances over the last decade have increased life expectancy to over 40 years of age, and as this advancement continues, so does the need for further psychological care, advice and support for this relatively new adult population. (Kettler et al.
), CF remains a progressive disease, requiring daily “preventative management and symptomatic treatment” (Kettler et al.
, p. 459). For gastrointestinal symptoms, clinicians focus on patients maintaining a healthy body weight by eating a high-energy and high-fat diet accompanied with pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy and fat-soluble vitamins to manage malnutrition (Abbott et al.
) and insulin if CF-related diabetes occurs. Increasing adherence to the four mainstream treatments (pancreatic enzymes, vitamins, physiotherapy and exercise), maintaining optimal nutritional status and preventing “risky behaviours” (e.g. smoking, alcohol consumption) are life-limiting interventions (Abbott et al.
) required to improve the quality of life and to prolong life. …