NTM (nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease) is still considered rare, but cases are growing 8 percent each year. In 2018, it is estimated that 75,000–105,000 patients were diagnosed with NTM lung disease in the U.S. Since awareness of NTM lung disease is limited and the symptoms of NTM lung disease, like chronic coughing, feeling tired often and shortness of breath, are similar to other lung conditions, many people who have it may not even know it for months or sometimes years.
(BPT) - Having a friend or loved one with a chronic and progressive condition teaches you many things: patience, understanding and adapting to lifestyle changes after diagnosis. But for Mary, supporting her friend, Barbara, living with a serious lung condition called nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease taught her the importance of listening.
While taking weekly walks together, Mary first noticed Barbara was experiencing respiratory symptoms, such as coughing fits and getting tired very easily. Barbara’s symptoms continued for two years, and Mary later found out that Barbara was living with NTM lung disease — a serious and progressive condition caused by bacteria that can lead to lung damage and respiratory symptoms.
From speaking with Barbara, she realized that while Barbara was relieved to have an explanation for her symptoms, she also felt overwhelmed and scared by her new diagnosis.
Mary recalls, “As her friend, I was upset that she had to face this health issue and wanted to know how I could help. I realized the best way I could show Barbara my support was to ‘walk with her’ and let her know she wasn’t alone.”
About NTM Lung Disease
NTM bacteria are common in the environment and can be found in tap water, showerheads, steam from hot tubs, and soil from parks and gardens. While everyone comes into contact with NTM bacteria during their daily lives, most people do not develop NTM lung disease because their lungs are healthy enough to clear the bacteria. However, people with a history of lung conditions, like bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, are more likely to develop NTM lung disease because the damage from these conditions can make it easier for NTM to infect their lungs.
NTM lung disease is considered rare, but cases are growing 8 percent each year. In 2018, it is estimated that 75,000–105,000 patients were diagnosed with NTM lung disease in the U.S. Since awareness of NTM lung disease is limited and the symptoms of NTM lung disease, like chronic coughing, feeling tired often and shortness of breath, are similar to other lung conditions, many people who have it may not even know it for months or sometimes years.
Providing Encouragement and Understanding
Following an NTM lung disease diagnosis, patients may have a hard time coping with the impact the disease can have on their lifestyle. Emotional support from family and friends is crucial to help patients navigate these new challenges.
After learning about Barbara’s diagnosis, Mary encouraged her to speak about the tests she was undergoing and treatment she was taking as well as how she was feeling. Mary was also there to support Barbara through some of the lifestyle changes that she was making to help manage her condition — whether it was hearing about the adjustments she made when traveling or ways to help limit her exposure to NTM bacteria at home.
Mary also understood that keeping up weekly walks helped Barbara physically and emotionally. She made sure that they stuck to their routine and made adjustments whenever necessary, such as walking for shorter distances or slowing down their pace based on how Barbara was feeling.
“Barbara’s diagnosis made our friendship stronger because she knew she could confide in me and receive the support and reassurance she needed — even if that just meant listening,” Mary shares. “While everyone’s experience with NTM lung disease is different, sometimes knowing there is someone willing to listen to what you’re going through can make a world of difference.”
Like many other loved ones of NTM lung disease patients, Mary had never heard about the condition before Barbara’s diagnosis. She let Barbara be her teacher and learned a lot about the condition through her experience. Today, she’s more informed about NTM lung disease and can be a better source of guidance and support for Barbara.
There are also several online patient resources available to learn more about NTM lung disease, such as the Voices of NTM Lung Disease eMagazine on AboutNTM.com, which provides information on living with and managing NTM lung disease through first-person stories from different members of the community, like Barbara and Mary. On AboutNTM.com, you can also access more information on how to join support groups to connect with others who have NTM lung disease, and how to sign up to receive helpful resources.
Sponsored by Insmed Incorporated.
It's easy to assume the worst when hearing about cancer, but with one type, there's good news. There has been a marked decrease in deaths from skin cancer. This can be attributed to many things, such as better research and tougher treatments. These are the reasons why a world without skin cancer is looking more likely
We Know a Lot About It
A higher survival rate for people with skin cancer wouldn't be possible if there hadn't been so much done to better understand this disease. Not only do we know how to treat it, but we also know how to prevent it. There are exams that people can get for irregularities on their bodies, such as moles. When skin cancer is detected earlier, the chances of survival are far greater. We're still a long way from understanding everything about it and how to cure it, but the progress thus far is considerable. If you're looking to enter the medical world, a career in dermatology will put you on the front lines of the fight against skin cancer.
A single-use method of curing skin cancer across the board doesn't exist, but there's a mix of different approaches that can help people and more to come with new research. If something has been caught early enough, it could be removed with freezing. There also are surgical options. Mohs surgery has been proven to be more effective on some cancers. With this surgery, a doctor methodically removes pieces of skin, stopping once there are no signs of cancer. Other sorts of treatment for skin cancer include chemotherapy and radiation treatment. There's also immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of your immune system. This type of treatment can be especially helpful for anyone who's dealing with an especially difficult case of skin cancer that isn't taking to previously discussed methods of treatment.
Every May, Skin Cancer Awareness Month is commemorated. As with any other disease, awareness takes the stigma out of skin cancer while also helping those coping with it. You can do your part by giving money to skin cancer research, reading about this illness and speaking with people who have been diagnosed with it. Twenty percent of people can expect to be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they turn 70, so awareness shouldn't be considered optional. Treating your skin right is the best way to fight skin cancer. This means using sunscreen constantly and avoiding harmful practices, like using tanning beds.
Although skin cancer hasn’t been completely eradicated yet, its days are numbers. Medical researchers are constantly discovering new and more effective ways to prevent and treat this disease. And as the research progresses, the number of cases will fall even further.
Ear pain can be a source of significant discomfort. Due to the many nerves that are clustered in the area, ear pain can sometimes persist for days and be beyond the aid of common over-the-counter painkillers. Some causes of ear pain may require the assistance of medical professionals; others can be solved by yourself. Here are three of the most common causes of ear pain.
Some of the most common causes of ear pain are dental issues. According to Alpine Dental, cavities, impacted molars, abscesses, infections and jaw problems can lead to earaches that seemingly don't go away. Persistent jaw pain may be a sign that you should pay a visit to the dentist. Even if you don't believe you have any cavities, the pain may be coming from a source that is not visible to you, such as a wisdom tooth that is pushing against its neighboring teeth at an abnormal angle. Only a dentist capable of taking an X-ray of your mouth can show you what is happening under the gums.
Earwax is a natural substance produced by your ear to keep out bacteria, dirt, and water. Earwax is normally created in the ear canal and gradually pushed into the outer ear by the hair inside your ear. However, sometimes too much earwax is produced. One of the most common ways people deal with earwax is to clean it with a cotton swab. Unfortunately, this method will only push your earwax deeper into the canal, and can even be dangerous, according to ENT Orlando. Cotton swabs should only be used lightly around your outer ear to brush off dead skin and loosen ear wax. You can use hydrogen peroxide, diluted vinegar or mineral oil to loosen the buildup of wax in the ear and let it drift out normally.
Normally, the air pressure inside your inner ear is roughly the same as the pressure in the outer ear. However, according to Virtua Health, rapid acceleration can quickly destabilize that equilibrium. For example, if you're on a roller coaster, you may feel increasing pressure inside your ear until your ear pops and the pressure recedes. However, there are some instances where you might need to take a more active approach to relieve air pressure. Frequent air travelers often experience ear pain while travelling by plane. The rapid acceleration at takeoff can create a painful buildup of air pressure inside your ear that your body cannot adjust to quickly. In this case, a common remedy is to force your ear to pop by swallowing or chewing gum in order to stimulate frequent swallowing to keep your ear tubes open and air available to your inner ear.
Other causes of ear pain may be a lot more serious than the ones described above. If your ear pain comes with signs of infection, such as a fever, rash or sore throat, and it doesn't go away within a few days of home treatment, you should seek medical attention.
Read about more health IDEAS: 3 Home “Remedies” That Just Don't Work
Nearly 16 million people in the United States are currently living with a COPD diagnosis, and millions more don’t know they have it. In people with COPD, the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs become partially blocked, which makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. If left undetected, the disease can greatly affect your quality of life and your ability to complete even ordinary daily activities.
Are Your Lungs Trying to Tell You Something?
(Family Features) Do you get short of breath doing daily activities? Feel like you’re unable to take deep breaths? Are you constantly coughing or wheezing? If you said yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a serious, potentially devastating lung disease also known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Though it’s easy to think of these symptoms as just part of “getting older’’ or as problems that come with allergies, often they are not.
Nearly 16 million people in the United States are currently living with a COPD diagnosis, and millions more don’t know they have it. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability.
In people with COPD, the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs become partially blocked, which makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. If left undetected, the disease can greatly affect your quality of life and your ability to complete even ordinary daily activities.
COPD often occurs in people who have a history of smoking or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke and other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts from the environment or workplace. The chances of getting COPD also increases significantly in people who have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a rare genetic condition.
While COPD develops slowly and worsens over time, its symptoms can be treated and its progression can be slowed, which is why early detection and treatment are so important. If you are noticing any issues with your breathing, talk to your health care provider about getting tested for COPD. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin. Your provider will design a treatment plan to help address your symptoms and improve your lung function and quality of life.
The key to keeping COPD at bay – or preventing it from getting worse – is to understand and recognize the signs and symptoms early and discuss them with your health care provider. The sooner this happens, the sooner you can get back to doing the things you love.
Through educational efforts like the Learn More Breathe Better program (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/breathebetter ), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute shares valuable information about the symptoms of COPD, as well as how to diagnose and treat it. With these tools, those living with COPD can effectively manage the disease, and those who have symptoms can find the support and assistance they need.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Before the use of the internet, people had to find their own remedies for common problems. Therefore, if something appeared to work, those secrets were passed down through the ages. Today, many of those “solutions” have been debunked and proven ineffective. Some work effectively, but the majority don’t. Before you jump into crafting up a ridiculous DIY home remedy, check out these three that should be avoided.
Whenever you find yourself with a wound, it’s no doubt that you’re also looking for the quickest route to recovery. However, the most effective treatment is not something that you can whip up in your kitchen. For example, an old wives’ tale is to put a raw egg over a burn. Don’t do it! Raw eggs are filled with bacteria that will just seep right into your skin. You may have also heard that licking a wound can help it heal. People have said for ages that a dog licking your wound helps it heal, so why would your own saliva be any different? Again, just don’t do it. Your mouth is filled with bacteria. While healthy skin won’t have any issues, an open wound is a sensitive area. Avoid causing infection by overloading your raw flesh with potentially harmful bacteria.
With so much emphasis on beauty in this world, many people turn to whitening their teeth. If you’re looking for a cheap approach, you may have heard to try brushing with baking soda or rinsing with hydrogen peroxide. Sure, these methods may seem like they work in the short-term. In order to even make a dent in your quest, you’ll have to use peroxide for at least two weeks. Alternatively, charcoal has gained traction to lighten up your teeth. Dentists actually warn that charcoal and other abrasives are highly dangerous to teeth. In addition to potentially destroying your tooth enamel, charcoal can settle into your gums and cause irritation, and it doesn't help cavities. Leave the teeth whitening to the professionals and see your dentist. You’ll be able to have your teeth cleaned while still ensuring the safety of your fragile smile.
When you’ve got a cold, you want it to go away as quickly as possible. Your great-grandmother may have suggested rubbing mustard on your chest or holding your head over a bowl of hot water. Well, typically, these remedies don’t work. In many cases, over-the-counter medications can also make things worse. There is no quick relief from a cold, unfortunately. Like any virus, it just has to run its course. Instead of wasting time and money on ridiculous remedies, make sure you’re sipping plenty of fluids and resting your body.
In most situations, home remedies simply don’t work. It’s always best to deal with your problems with a trained professional, such as a dentist for your teeth. Take care of yourself, and don’t make your issues worse!
Here’s another article you might like: 5 ways to care for and comfort your sick child
Everyone knows that a good night's sleep gives you energy, reduces levels of mental health disorders, and gives the body time to repair itself. In addition to the more obvious benefits, there are a host of lesser-known advantages that solid rest provides. Here are three surprising things that a good night of sleep can do for you.
May Prevent Cancer
Research has shown that inadequate sleep may lead to certain types of cancer. Experts believe that too much light exposure reduces the amount of melatonin in the body. It is this hormone that regulates your body's natural circadian rhythm and protects against cancer by suppressing tumor growth. You can help your body to produce quality levels of melatonin by keeping your bedroom dark and by limiting the use of electronic devices before going to sleep.
Help You Lose Weight
People who do not get enough sleep each night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is believed that this happens because inadequate sleep negatively affects the natural balance of hormones in the body that impact the appetite. A lack of solid sleep disrupts the hormones ghrelin and leptin. It is these two hormones that affect your appetite. Getting a full night's rest even helps with overeating. A body that is deprived of adequate sleep will produce more cortisol, causing you to crave more food. Making an effort to stay true to your body's natural sleep cycle will help you to keep off the pounds.
That fogginess in your brain may be attributed to a lack of sleep. Research has shown that sleep plays a critical role in the retention of memories. While your body is resting when you sleep, your brain is actually working in overdrive processing the events of the day, making connections, and sorting emotions. This all happens when your body enters the deep sleep phase. Without this regular deep sleep, your brain is not able to function at optimum levels. Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night will assist your brain in remembering and processing things more accurately.
Making the effort to get a good night's sleep will pay off big dividends for the future of your health. Not only are the short-term effects of good physical health a result of solid rest, but the long-term effects will also improve your overall quality of life and longevity.
Over the past 10 years, researchers have learned Alzheimer’s disease starts much earlier than the onset of symptoms – 10-20 years before an individual, family member or friend might notice the signs of the debilitating disease. Researchers are looking for a diverse group of people ages 50 or older who have normal thinking and memory function.
How the Internet Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
(Family Features) Over the past 10 years, researchers have learned Alzheimer’s disease starts much earlier than the onset of symptoms – 10-20 years before an individual, family member or friend might notice the signs of the debilitating disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.5 million Americans, of all races and ethnicities, age 65 and older currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, which is expected to grow to more than 7 million people by 2025.
The first-of-its-kind Alzheimer Prevention Trials Webstudy (APT Webstudy), funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to increase the pace of research by enlisting thousands of healthy volunteers who can quickly be enrolled in clinical trials focused on preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Enrollees in the APT Webstudy can use the internet to help stop the disease while being alerted to changes in their own memory function.
“In order to change the lives of the numerous people and their loved ones who will be affected by Alzheimer’s, we need everyone to get involved with prevention efforts,” said Paul Aisen, MD, co-principal investigator of the APT Webstudy. “The bigger the army of volunteers, the faster we can work to prevent this terrible disease.”
Volunteers can access the Webstudy when and where it is convenient for them, such as on their computer or tablet, or even a public library; anywhere they can access the internet. Volunteers participate in regular online memory testing. If there is a change in memory function, eligible volunteers are alerted and may be invited to a no-cost, in-person evaluation at one of the research sites across the country.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to help future generations avoid the suffering caused by Alzheimer’s,” Aisen said. “With enough volunteers, we will be one step closer to seeing the first Alzheimer’s survivor.”
Researchers are looking for a diverse group of people ages 50 or older who have normal thinking and memory function. Volunteers must be willing to answer a few questions about their family and medical history and provide information about their lifestyles. Volunteers will take online memory tests every three months, each one about 20 minutes long.
If you are interested in participating, visit aptwebstudy.org to learn more.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Alzheimer’s Prevention Trials
Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one. Consider following these tips to achieve ideal health.
Don't Let Stroke Strike Twice
(Family Features) Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one.
While there are about 7.2 million stroke survivors in the United States, people who have had a stroke are at high risk of having another one. In fact, about one in every four stroke survivors will have a second one.
Efforts like Together to End Stroke, an American Stroke Association initiative, nationally sponsored by Bayer Aspirin, work to educate stroke survivors and caregivers about how they can avoid a second occurrence.
Because the consequences of a second stroke can be more detrimental than the first, it’s important to recognize the signs, which come on suddenly, and act quickly. An easy way to remember the most common warning signs is the acronym F.A.S.T., (F – face drooping, A – arm weakness, S – speech difficulty, T – time to call 911).
Talk to your doctor about medications that may help you with your stroke prevention efforts. For example, taking aspirin regularly or other blood clot prevention medications can help reduce the risk of another ischemic stroke.
Consider following the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s “Life's Simple 7” to achieve ideal health:
Don't smoke. Smoking puts you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Quitting is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and add years to your life. You’re more likely to quit for good if you prepare for your last cigarette and the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.
Eat a healthy diet. Healthy eating starts with simple, healthy food choices. You don’t need to stop eating your favorite meals, just use substitutions to make them healthier. Learn what to look for at the grocery store, restaurants, your workplace and other eating occasions so you can confidently make healthy, delicious choices whenever and wherever you eat.
Maintain a healthy weight. The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go beyond improved energy and smaller clothing sizes. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you can also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. There’s no trick to losing weight and keeping it off, but the majority of successful people modify their eating habits and increase physical activity.
Control cholesterol. Having large amounts of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, in the blood can cause build up and blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Reducing your fat intake, especially trans fats, often found in fried foods and baked goods, can help reduce your cholesterol. Adding more foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts, as well as soluble fiber and whey protein, helps in managing cholesterol.
Manage blood pressure. Nothing causes more strokes than uncontrolled high blood pressure. Of the 116.4 million people in the United States who have high blood pressure, fewer than half have it under control, putting them at increased risk of stroke. Lowering your blood pressure by 20 points could cut your risk of dying from stroke by half.
Control blood sugar. By managing your diabetes and working with your health care team, you may reduce your risk of stroke. Every two minutes, an adult with diabetes in the United States is hospitalized for stroke. At age 60, someone with type 2 diabetes and a history of stroke may have a life expectancy that is 12 years shorter than someone without both conditions.
For more information on how to prevent stroke, and a complete list of warning signs, visit strokeassociation.org/americanstrokemonth.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Stroke Association
Interested in Publishing on The Health IDEA?
Send your query to the Publisher today!