What is NTM?

Discussion created by Thomas3.20.2010 on Oct 22, 2017
Latest reply on Oct 22, 2017 by elvan
Coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath----if you have these symptoms over and over and suffer from COPD, it could be a sign of a lung infection called NTM
Nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease is a chronic and progressive condition.   
This infection is caused by bacteria that you breathe in through your nose and mouth.

A cough is one thing. Coughing over and over and over is another.
If you've been living with a lung condition----such as COPD, bronchiectasis,
or asthma----you are at greater risk of being infected. That's because certain lung conditions cause damage to the lungs and make it difficult to get rid of NTM bacteria from your airways. This makes people with lung conditions more at risk for getting NTM lung disease.
NTM can make you sick and cause you to experience symptoms like coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Over time, your symptoms can worsen. In some cases, an NTM infection
can cause severe, even permanent damage to your lungs. 
The symptoms of NTM lung disease are similar to other lung conditions. So similar, in fact,  
that NTM diagnosis is often delayed. People can have NTM for months, sometimes years,  
without knowing it. Many people have symptoms, but think it's due to a lung condition  
they already have.
It's important to educate yourself about NTM lung disease. is a new
resource that can help you answer your questions and find more information about NTM.
If you live with a lung condition, you know what your symptoms typically feel like.  
So how can you tell if it's NTM and not just your current lung condition acting up?
Well, the truth is, it's very difficult. However, there are key symptoms of NTM that can worsen over time. For example, your cough can get worse, you can feel out of breath easily, and you can feel tired often----like your "get up and go" got up and went. These symptoms could be a sign that you have NTM lung disease.
 Ready to start a discussion about NTM_
If this sounds like you, talk to a lung specialist about whether  
or not you may be suffering from NTM lung disease.

Thomas: Don't lay awake at night wondering what is happening to you! Our minds have a way of suspecting the worst! But do follow up rather than putting your head in the sand - if you see a change in your baseline - check it out with your Doctor!


Source: COPD Foundation