New Treatment For Patients With Cystic Fibrosis
Kellye Lynn BALTIMORE (WJZ) ― There's a change in treatment for patients with cystic fibrosis.
Healthwatch reporter Kellye Lynn says many children with CF are not getting enough of an important vitamin.
That vitamin is Vitamin D, which is essential for bone health.
Last summer, Justin Homassel, 10, leaped off his porch backwards and broke his arm.
"I jumped and caught myself with my arm and I broke it," he said.
Broken bones are more common among children like Justin who have cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes sticky mucous to build up in the body and affects about 30,000 Americans.
"The pancreas doesn't make enzymes to digest food appropriately, especially fat so they don't absorb fat, and therefore fat soluble vitamins, the way they should," said Dr. Peter Mogayzel, Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
The result is low levels of Vitamin D, which can increase the risk of rickets and osteoporosis.
A new study out of Johns Hopkins Children's Center shows current recommendations for treating Vitamin D deficiency don't get far enough.
In the study, giving the standard 50,000 international units of Vitamin D for eight weeks was effective in only 33% of patients. It's a surprising finding and prompted Hopkins doctors to send a letter to each of their CF patients, urging an increase of Vitamin D.
The new recommendation is an extra 1,000 international units of Vitamin D a day.
"I think it's important for patients to take more Vitamin D and we believe the CF Foundation has to reevaluate this to have more appropriate recommendations for therapy," said Dr. Mogayzel.
Justin is now following that advice. His mom hopes doing so will keep looking as good as the rest of his body.
CF patients can also increase Vitamin D levels by spending 15 minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen. Doctors also recommend weight-bearing exercise.
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