Lyme Disease is a multi-systemic illness caused by the spirochete Borrellia burgdorferi (Bb), and is the most common vector-borne illness in the US. It is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick (all species), The bacterial spirochete can invade and infect any organ in humans and animals. If not diagnosed early, if left untreated or not treated adequately, it may develop into debilitating arthritic, cardiac, neurological, digestive, or psychiatric conditions. It can cause long-term disability or can even be fatal. It can also cross the placenta into the fetus. It is called the “Great Imitator” for it mimics other diseases such as: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or an array of mental disorders.
It is possible for one tick bite to transmit several strains of Lyme called co-infections, which may account for increased severity of symptoms and/or persistence of illness. Each co-infection often requires its own treatmentTESTING for TICK-BORNE ILLNESS
Lyme disease needs to be diagnosed clinically, using your medical history in conjunction with one or more of the available tests. There are a number of tests for these illnesses, however, they are not sufficiently sensitive to be conclusively diagnostic. Your test may come back negative by CDC standards, yet you may still be positive for Lyme disease. Some of the basic tests are:
• ELISA (not very reliable)
• IgG and IgM Western Blots (best done at Stony Brook University Medical Center Laboratory (631) 444-3824/7965 or IgeneX 800-832-3200)
• PCR (DNA analysis) (best done at IgeneX)
• CD57 (best done at LabCorp)
• Co-infection testing e.g. ., Ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, bartonellosis staphlococcus etc..
Two schools of thought, exemplified by the organizations International Lyme & Associated Diseases (ILADS) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) have developed with regards to the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. The root of the controversy, put simply, is the lack of the reliable biological markers and diagnostic tests for the disease. In addition, it is also difficult to determine whether a patient has been fully cleared of the disease. Therefore, arguments over diagnosis and treatment approaches will continue.OTHER SUGGESTED RESOURCES http://www.ILADS.orghttp://Columbia-Lyme.orghttp://www.LymeNet.orghttp://www.IGeneX.com
Palo Alto, CA (800-832-3200) Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis, based on a patient’s symptoms, history, and examination.
A patient can test negative and still have Lyme disease.
Many physicians have not received education on chronic Lyme disease in medical school, since Lyme is still being researched.SYMPTOMS
EARLY STAGES: Symptoms may appear from 48 hours to several weeks after a bite from an infected tick.
• EM (erythema migrans) rash anywhere on the body, or a “bulls eye” rash at the bite site (only 1/3 of infected people show a rash)
• Flu-like symptoms: fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headache, fever, chills, swollen glands, sore throat, stiff neck
LATE STAGE (CHRONIC /SECONDARY LYME): Symptoms may occur weeks, months, or even years after the bite, and the symptoms may come and go cyclically.
• Profound fatigue
• Continued flu-like symptoms with swollen glands, low-grade fever
• Chills, sweats, and skin flushes
• Night sweats
• Migrating arthralgias (swollen or painful joints)
• Muscle pain, weakness, paralysis
• Severe headache, stiff neck, backache
• Numbness, tingling, motor dysfunction, loss of balance, dizziness, poor coordination, Bell’s palsy, trouble swallowing, tremors, shakiness, seizures, neurological disorders*
• Distortion of smell or taste
• Sensitivity to lights, sounds, motion, odors, blurred vision or loss of sight
• Pelvic pain, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn (may mimic Crohn’s disease or colitis)
• Cognitive dysfunction, difficulty organizing or making decisions, memory loss, anxiety, sleep disorders, panic attacks, depression, psychiatric disorders
• Irregular heartbeat, palpitations, heart block, chest pain, difficulty breathing
*The more severe neurological symptoms or disorders associated with late-stage Lyme disease include: Seizure disorders, ALS-like syndrome, Parkinson’s-like syndrome, MS-like syndromeTREATEMENT
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, given orally, by injection (intramuscular), or intravenously.
Treatment of an early diagnosis is at least six to eight weeks of antibiotics or until the symptoms completely subside (which can be up to a year).
Treatment for an infected person having undiagnosed Lyme for months or years will need a longer course of antibiotics. In some severe neurological cases, IVIG is used to support the immune system during treatment.
Especially in patients who have had previous treatment or inadequate treatment (inadequate doses or inadequate length of treatment), Lyme can form an L-form or a cyst. The infection then becomes resistant to antibiotic therapy. Specific treatment is often required.
It is vital that the body not see the same antibiotic treatment for too long, as resistance, cysts, and side effects develope. Consider changing dose, timing, and drug regularly to keep the germs responsive to therapy.
Don’t get scared upon hearing treatment plans of high dose antibiotic. Risks from carefully managed antibiotics are generally low .Risks from untreated Lyme are much worse.
Alternative and complimentary custom treatments such as a variety of probiotics, vitamins, mineral, herbs, and homeopathics are essential to support and build the immune system while undergoing heavy antibiotic treatment. Chronic illness is famous for depleting vitamin stores. In chronic cases of patients with absorption problems iv can be used for vitamins and minerals.
A combined approach is the key, treating bacteria and all affected organs at the same time.
Do non aerobics exercise every other day. Get out on fresh air. Make sure to oxegenate your body as bacteria cannot live with oxygen.
Heat packs and a hot bath in baking soda or Epsom salt are known to be helpful for pain relief, as heat kills bacteria. Avoid refined sugar and simple carbohydrates as well as chemicals.
A diet rich in raw or steamed veggies and lean protein, coupled with elimination of nightshade foods are vital to improving overall health.
Be aware that symptoms usually get worse before getting better. This is called a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction and is your body’s reaction to the killed bacteria toxins. The bacteria actively comes out of the cells to battle the antibiotic.
Newest symptoms tend to leave first as older ones leave last.
Be an educated consumer and find a Lyme literate practitioner that follows ILADS guidelines. Your excellent pediatrician or PCP may not have enough knowledge about late stage Lyme disease .Be careful when looking for an infectious disease doctor as many follow IDSA guidelines.
Trust your gut and don’t give up. Be positive and good luck.
Yesh Tickva! Hope and Daven, be metzapeh leyeshuas Hashem!
Good luck to your Hishtadlus.
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