SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) lung disease is a serious condition that can cause permanent lung damage, even if you have no symptoms.
More than 86,000 people are likely living with NTM lung disease in the United States, and rates appear to be increasing, especially among women and older age groups.
The American Lung Association, with support from Insmed, is sharing five fast facts to help you better understand this progressive disease:
1. Treatments vary.
How NTM is treated depends on the type of organism causing the infection, the severity of symptoms and your health history. Treatment of NTM lung disease varies from person to person and can last for a prolonged period of time.
2. Current guidelines.
The progress of treatment will be monitored by collecting sputum samples. Once achieving a negative sputum culture, the 2020 NTM Guidelines recommend continuing your treatment regimen for 12 months post culture conversion. Because NTM lung disease can be challenging to clear from the body, it’s a good idea to seek care from a pulmonologist or infectious disease specialist that specializes in NTM lung disease.
3. Side effects.
Some of the medications you may be prescribed may cause side effects. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about possible side effects and how to manage them.
4. Clinical trials.
There are clinical trials available for those living with NTM lung disease. Participating in a clinical trial supports medical advances and can help you access treatments. See if one is right for you.
5. Finding support.
Having the right support while treating your NTM lung disease may help you follow your treatment plan. The Lung Association recommends patients and caregivers join the Living with Lung Disease Support Community to connect with others facing this disease. You can also ask your healthcare provider about lung disease support groups in your area, or look online for a Better Breathers Club near you. To talk to a trained respiratory professional who can help answer your questions and connect you with support, call the Lung Association’s Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA.
For more information about NTM and lung health, visit lung.org.
Everyone inhales NTM into their lungs as part of daily life. Unfortunately for some, this exposure can result in infection. Having the facts and tools you need to understand NTM lung disease can help you get the support you need.