December may trigger peak cold and flu season, but symptoms, such as coughing and fatigue, could be a sign of something else. These symptoms could also be due to a progressive and chronic condition called nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease. Everyone is exposed to NTM bacteria during their daily lives, as NTM can be found in everyday items, such as tap water, showerheads, steam from hot tubs and soil from parks and gardens.
While most people will not develop NTM lung disease, people with a history of lung conditions like bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma are at an even greater risk, because damage from these conditions can make it easier for NTM to infect the lungs.
The symptoms of NTM lung disease are similar to other lung conditions, which often causes delayed diagnosis of the condition. Those who have it may not even know it for months or sometimes years. In some cases, the disease can cause severe, even permanent damage to the lungs, so early detection and management is crucial to improve patient outcomes.
To spotlight this serious and often overlooked condition, Dr. Julie Philley, The University of Texas Health, and Philip Leitman, President, NTM Info and Research, Inc. (NTMir), will share their experiences with, and perspectives on, NTM lung disease.