Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Week

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Information for Patients

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Week


What is NTM

NTM (Nontuberculous mycobacteria) lung disease is a devastating chronic illness affecting mostly women, however the numbers of men and children being diagnosed is on the rise. Those with underlying lung disorders are at most risk.

How is NTM Diagnosed

Nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease is often misdiagnosed. Unfortunately this sometimes delays initial diagnosis until after the patient has had recurrent infections. Correct diagnosis, in a timely manner, is critical to avoiding further damage to the lungs.

Reducing Exposure

Doctors believe that patients with underlying lung conditions may become infected with NTM from inhalation of mycobacteria that become aerosolized when the patient showers in an enclosed shower stall or sits in an indoor hot tub. There are several things you can do today to reduce your exposure to NTM.

Treatment & Side Effects

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) recommends a standard treatment for pulmonary NTM disease of 3 or 4 FDA-approved drugs. Though medications for NTM can be difficult to tolerate there are things you can do which may help reduce the severity of some of the side effects. Click here for information about treatment and here for information on managing side effects.

 Quality of Life

NTM lung disease is a serious illness that has an impact on your life, and it can have a serious impact on your family's life as well. You do not need to deal with your illness alone…support, information and resources are available.

Traveling Tips

Travel, particularly by airplane, can become burdensome for NTM patients who deal with medications through IV or inhalation, or who require supplemental oxygen. Thankfully, there are ways to make this much easier for you, your traveling companions, and any security personnel you will deal with along the way.

Building a Family Health History

Knowing what illnesses you have had, including childhood illnesses, may provide your doctor with additional understanding of why certain underlying lung conditions exist.

NTM Patient Registry

In addition to funding research, NTMir assists with patient recruitment for clinical trials and studies on an ongoing basis and is currently recruiting for three studies.

ATS Breathing in America Book

The Breathing in America: Diseases, Progress, and Hope compilationbriefly describes respiratory diseases and the progress that is being made in the quest to find their cures.

ATS Patient Information Series

The ATS Patient Information Series is a public service of the American Thoracic Society and its journal the AJRCCM (www.atsjournals.org). The information appearing in this series is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the medical advice of one’s personal health care provider.