Dr. Patrick Flume: July 10, 2019

Summer Activities May Result in Exposure to a Bacteria that Can Cause a Chronic Lung Condition 

A Pulmonologist and Patient Raise Awareness About Nontuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) Lung Disease

Dr. Patrick Flume

Pulmonologist and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina

Debbie – NTM Lung Disease Patient


Some people associate warmer weather with outdoor activities like gardening and strolls through the park. Others associate the higher temperatures with staying cool indoors. However, many don’t realize that both may result in exposure to a common type of bacteria that can cause a serious and chronic condition that can lead to lung damage in those who are susceptible. Known as nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) or Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), the bacteria can be breathed in through soil particles in the air and can be found in places like gardens and hot tubs as well as showerheads and tap water.


So, who should be concerned? Most people do not develop NTM lung disease because their lungs are healthy enough to clear the bacteria. However, individuals with pre-existing lung conditions like bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma are more likely to develop the disease. While NTM lung disease occurs throughout the U.S., seven out of 10 of all NTM infections occur in coastal areas. NTM lung disease cases are increasing by 8% each year in the U.S., so raising awareness of risk is important.


Since the symptoms of NTM lung disease like cough, fatigue and shortness of breath are similar to other lung conditions, those who have it may not know for months – or sometimes years. The symptoms of NTM lung disease may worsen over time, and in some cases, the disease can cause severe, even permanent damage to the lungs, so early detection and management are crucial to improving patient outcomes.


On July 10th, Dr. Patrick Flume, Pulmonologist and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina, will help educate your viewers on risk factors and symptoms of NTM lung disease, while Debbie shares her experience as a patient living with the condition and discusses where people can go to find more information.

Visit AboutNTM.com for additional information about NTM lung disease, which includes the recently launched Voices of NTM Lung Disease eMagazine, featuring the perspectives of patients, caregivers, physicians and advocates in the community.


About Dr. Patrick Flume

Dr. Patrick Flume is a pulmonologist and professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and serves as director of the MUSC Health Cystic Fibrosis Center. Dr. Flume has special research interests in cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and chronic lung infections, including nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease, and holds a medical degree from the University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio. 


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