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5 Facts About NTM Lung Disease

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

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.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) shironosov / iStock via Getty Images Plus


Kitty D Hann 1938-2024

At 18 years of age, Kitty was recruited to work for the Dept. of the Navy in Washington, D.C., where she resided in an all-girl’s boarding house. She created lifelong friendships there.

John Eugene Walck 1933-2024

Mr. Walck worked proudly for Hagerstown Canteen Vending Service for 50 years, retiring in 2003. He enjoyed the outdoors, trap shooting, and collecting trains.

Justin L. Nichols 1981-2024

Justin enjoyed hunting, fishing, spending time around a camp fire, time spent with family and friends and living life to the fullest.

Robert “Bob” Rhoten 1933-2024

After he left the military, Bob worked several data entry jobs. After 10 years of service to the Federal Government, he retired in his early 70’s.

Nina Fegan 1947-2024

Nina graduated from St. Joseph’s Nursing School in Lancaster, PA as a Registered Nurse. She enjoyed puzzles, reading and vacationing in Cape May, NJ.

Duane Lee Bidlack 1938-2024

Duane earned a Bachelor’s degree from Tri-State College and later a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University.

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