How Is It Treated
Facial palsy is treated with oral antibiotics and Lyme meningitis/radiculoneuritis can either be treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics, depending on severity . Most people with Lyme disease respond well to antibiotics and fully recover. Varying degrees of permanent nervous system damage may develop in people who do not receive treatment in the early stages of illness and who develop late-stage Lyme disease.
Neurological Symptoms Of Early Lyme Disease
The onset of neurological symptoms can occur between one week and two months following a tick bite. In this early stage of neurological involvement, common symptoms have emerged. Meningitis from the Borrelia bacteria will present with nausea/vomiting, mild to severe headaches and a stiff neck. Light sensitivity and fever may also occur. However, meningitis caused by Lyme disease may be less severe than other bacterial infections so may be misdiagnosed as viral meningitis.
Encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, can cause confusion, sleepiness, mood swings, personality changes or hallucinations. When the cranial nerves are affected in early Lyme disease, facial nerve palsy can cause muscle weakness or paralysis on one or both sides of the face leading to facial drooping. Additional cranial nerve symptoms include difficulty with eye closure, moving lips and smiling, and wrinkling of the forehead. Vision and smell can also be affected by cranial nerve inflammation.
Borrelia The Misunderstood Microbe
Its not uncommon for people to harbor borrelia and not know it stealth is this microbes middle name.
Lyme disease is mostly transmitted by nymphal ticks, which are about the size of a pin. They bite, transmit the microbe, and then drop off most people arent even aware of being bitten. Because symptoms of the initial infection are so mild , its not uncommon for people to be completely unaware of being infected.
And borrelia isnt the only microbe to worry about. Ticks carry many microbes that have similar characteristics to borrelia. What they all have in common is stealthy characteristics that make them hard to find and even harder to get rid of.
If immune system function is robust, a person can harbor these types of microbes indefinitely, keeping them in check without ever having symptoms. When illness does occur, its typically chronic and debilitating, but not life-threatening. Additionally, the degree of chronic illness is highly variable. Some people are severely debilitated, while others are only marginally miserable.
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Creating The Perfect Environment For Healing
Healing is the ability of cells to regenerate and recover from being stressed. Healing can only occur if ongoing stresses are reduced enough for cellular recovery to occur.
No doubt, killing bacteria and other microbes is essential for cellular healing, but it must be done without upsetting the delicate balance of other microbes that inhabit the body. This is the problem with antibiotics. Conventional antibiotics dont penetrate into cells very well, but do disrupt the balance of normal flora in the gut and skin. Prolonged use of antibiotics typically leads to a host of issues that disrupt cellular healing and often doesnt eradicate the ongoing infection.
This is where the antimicrobial properties of herbs offer a distinct advantage. Taking an herb with antimicrobial properties isnt like taking an antibiotic. Instead of being a single chemical agent, like an antibiotic, herbs offer a wide spectrum of chemical substances with broad spectrum action against a wide variety of microbes. In essence, it acts like an intelligent defense system that targets pathogens and not normal flora. This allows herbs to be taken for extended periods of time months and even years without disrupting the balance of bacteria and other microbes in the body. Which is exactly what it takes to wear the intracellular microbes down.
Lyme Is Not The Only Threat
As mentioned earlier in this article, there is another group of borrelia that causes a disease that is similar to, but biologically distinct from, Lyme. This disease, called Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever or TBRF, is often characterized by fevers that wax and wane every few days. However, many patients never experience relapsing fevers or any fevers at all. Like those of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, TBRF symptoms can often go undetected or be mistaken for other conditions, which can give the disease time to develop into neurological symptoms.
So, as with Lyme, it is crucial to get an early and accurate diagnosis of TBRF. Be aware that TBRF will not show up on a Lyme test the test must be designed to test for TBRF borrelia in order to show accurate results. If symptoms are Lyme-like but test results are negative, doctors should consider the possibility of TBRF.
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Real Solutions For Chronic Immune Dysfunction
I divide options for overcoming illnesses associated with Chronic Immune Dysfunction and stealth microbes into two categories: Heroic Therapies and Restorative Therapies.
A third category of solutions, Symptomatic Therapies, is best reserved for acute relief. Specifically directed at controlling symptoms, Symptomatic Therapies come mostly in the form of prescription drugs and contribute only minimally to healing and wellness.
Boiling Point: The Lyme + Fibromyalgia + Chronic Fatigue Connection
The misery of chronic illness is very real. But if youre the one whos suffering, you know that those around you typically cant see it or understand it not family, friends, or even medical providers.
They dont know what its like:
to push through oppressive fatigue day after day.to be tired beyond exhaustion but unable to sleep.to ache all over so badly that all you want to do is curl up in a ball inside a dark closet.to feel like you have the flu every day of your life but still have to go to work.to be isolated, both socially and professionally.to have bizarre symptoms that no one can put a finger on.to be told that all your lab tests are normal, even though something is obviously wrong.to become dependent on symptom-suppressing drugs prescribed by well-meaning doctors who didnt know enough to know better.
I can relate better than most doctors because Ive lived it. I am part of a growing epidemic of people suffering from chronic ailments that the modern medical system is at a loss to help.
An unexpected twist during my late 40s changed my life and career path forever. Unrelenting stress from a too-busy medical practice combined with an entanglement of unpredicted life stressors plunged me into chronic misery that took me 10 years to escape.
Then, I became the patient I could almost sense my doctors roll their eyes the minute I came through the door.
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Intravenous Antibiotics For Lyme: Pros Cons And The Lived Experience
byJennifer Crystalon September 3, 2020
Has your doctor recommended you get a PICC line to treat your Lyme disease? Here are the pros and cons of IV antibiotics for Lyme.
When diagnosed right away, many cases of Lyme disease can be treated with a three-week course of oral antibiotics. Some 20% of patients, however, go on to experience continued symptomsknown as Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndromeand require more antibiotics. Still others, like myself, suffer with Late Disseminated Lyme Disease, which isnt diagnosed until months or years after a tick bite. By that point, the Lyme bacteria, called a spirochete, has replicated and invaded many systems of the body, often crossing the blood-brain barrier.
This stage of Lyme disease is so advanced that Lyme Literate Medical Doctors often recommend intravenous antibiotics, administered through a peripherally inserted central catheter . A port is placed in your arm with a line that runs directly to your heart. The port remains in your arm for as long as your doctor recommendsin some cases months or even yearsand you self-administer antibiotics. Just the idea of having a PICC line is understandably daunting to patients. Many write to me wondering if they should pursue this route. I responded briefly to this question in one of my Dear Lyme WarriorHelp! columns. In this blog, I will share more about my own experience with a PICC line, and outline pros and cons.
Healthy Cells Equal A Healthy Body
The human body is a complex collection of living cells. When all the cells in the body are healthy and working in unison, you feel well. Symptoms occur when cells are stressed. Sometimes the symptom points to the source of stress: for example, joint pain indicates that cells in the joints have been taxed or injured. Symptoms like fatigue, however, suggest that cells throughout the body are overburdened, and communications that unify cellular functions have been compromised.
Fortunately, cells can recover from being stressed its what healing is all about. Cells can repair internal damage, and even when theyre injured beyond repair, other cells in the body can divide to make replacements . That is, if the stress resolves or is relieved.
Chronic illness occurs when stress never resolves, and our cells dont get a chance to recover from being overworked. There are many different chronic illnesses because different cells in the body can become chronically stressed in different ways.
The immune system plays an enormous role in the healing process. Its responsible for removing old and abnormal cells, cleaning up cellular debris and dead microbes, clearing foreign substances from the bloodstream, and purging toxins from the body. During chronic illness, cellular turnover is increased to the point that the immune system becomes overtaxed. When the immune system cant do its job, all cells in the body suffer.
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So What Stresses Cells
The factors that stress or threaten cells are intimately tied to the fact that we must interact with the surrounding environment to survive. The nutrients, water, and oxygen that cells need to thrive must come from outside the body. This mandatory interaction with the outside environment poses a variety of different risks to cells of the body.
All totaled, there are five categories of factors that can stress cells of the body and lead to chronic illness.
Description Of The Analytic Process
In the spring of 2004 the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology convened an expert panel of investigators from the United States and Europe who have published extensively in the field. The panel was selected to represent a broad range of relevant expertise and opinion.
In May 2004, a literature search was performed using Ovid MEDLINE, Pubmed, and EMBASE, using search terms Lyme Disease/, Borrelia Infections/, Borrelia burgdorferi group/and , and Anti-Infective Agents/ and . This resulted in 353 citations. After elimination of duplicate citations, each abstract was reviewed by at least two members of the panel for relevance for further review. Any disagreements were arbitrated by a third reviewer. This resulted in a list of 112 articles, each of which was then reviewed by at least two members of the panel. Members of the panel recommended adding 10 additional references. After detailed review of all 122, the panel decided 37 articles contributed relevant, assessable data. Articles were excluded if they did not address treatment of neuroborreliosis, were not peer reviewed, or were solely review articles. The selected articles were then reviewed in detail by all panel members to assess the quality of the evidence contained.
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Connections To Chronic Illness
Whether you are symptomatic or not depends a lot on the health of your cells. Your cells are not defenseless!
All of our cells have an internal housekeeping system called autophagy. Cells continually break down misfolded proteins, burned-out mitochondria, damaged DNA, and worn-out parts and recycle them into new proteins and cell parts. It is also the mechanism by which cells expel many types of intracellular microbes. The fact that our cells can expel intracellular microbes is another important and often unrecognized part of our natural defenses.
But when cells are chronically exposed to poor nutrition, toxic environment, chronic mental stress, and sedentary lifestyle, auto-nagy is impaired and cells become more vulnerable to invasion by intracellular pathogens. Increased cellular turnover and increased microbe activity overtaxes the immune system. At a certain point, a threshold is crossed, such that symptoms occur. The type of symptoms that occur depends on the types of cells affected different microbes have preference for different types of cells in the body. This is one reason why there are so many different chronic illnesses.
Why Antibiotics Have Limited Use For Chronic Lyme
Borrelia clears the blood quickly and uses its corkscrew shape to penetrate deeply into tissues where it is protected from antibiotics and the immune system. It can penetrate into cells, give up the corkscrew shape, and live inside of cells, thus gaining protection from the immune system and antibiotics. If confronted with a full antibiotic assault, it rolls up into dormant cyst and rides out the storm until the antibiotics are gone.
Antibiotics work best on highly threatening microbes that grow very rapidly and congregate densely in localized areas in the body . Borrelia grows very slowly in the body and only occurs in very low concentrations in tissues.
Borrelia is a master at blending in with the trillions of other microbes that make up the human microbiome . Overwhelming the host is not its mission it simply needs to scavenge enough resources to survive. Borrelias stealthy ability to lay low makes diagnosis and treatment a real challenge.
Borrelia never occurs alone. There are many stealthy microbes mycoplasma, chlamydia, Bartonella, Epstein-Barr virus , cytomegalovirus , and others that can occupy space in the microbiome. Sometimes they occur as coinfections with the tick bite, but they can already be present in the microbiome, without causing symptoms, when infection with Borrelia occurs.
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Study Design And Interventions
The study is a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial with a non-inferiority design. We plan to recruit 120 patients diagnosed with definite or probable LNB according to EFNS guidelines at six different hospitals in the southern part of Norway as shown in . The study is coordinated from Sørlandet Hospital in Kristiansand, Agder County by neurologists connected to the large BorrSci study . The inclusion and exclusion criteria are shown in . Inclusion started in 2015 and will continue through December 2019 or until the necessary sample size is obtained. Eligibility before inclusion is assessed by, or discussed with, a physician connected to the study and accustomed to evaluating patients with neurological symptoms. The patients are randomised into two treatment arms: doxycycline 200mg daily for 2 weeks, followed by 4weeks of placebo doxycycline 200mg daily for 6weeks .
Neurological symptoms suggestive of Lyme neuroborreliosis without other obvious reasons, and one or both of
CSF pleocytosis .
Intrathecal Borrelia burgdorferi antibody production.
Signed informed consent.
Treatment with cephalosporin, penicillin or tetracycline macrolide during the last 14days before start of doxycycline treatment.
Pregnancy, breast feeding and/or women of childbearing potential not using adequate contraception.
Adverse reaction to tetracyclines.
Serious liver or kidney disease that contraindicates use of doxycyline.
How Do Patients Respond To Treatment
We looked at patients with chronic Lyme diseasethose who remained ill for six or more months following treatment with antibiotics for Lyme disease . The first thing we did was identify different patients as well, high responders, low responders, or non-responders. Well patients responded positively to a survey question asking if they were well or remained ill. Those who remained ill were asked whether their condition had changed as a result of treatment. Those who said they were unchanged or worse were categorized as non-responders. Patients who said that they were better or worse following treatment, were asked how much better or worse. Those who had improved substantially were deemed high responders.
59% of patients had improved with treatment and 42% were either well or high responders. The focus of our study was on this latter group. You might wonder whether 42% response is considered good compared to other drugs. Heres what the prior head of GlaxoSmithKline said about treatment effectiveness rates of drugs in general .
The vast majority of drugs more than 90 per cent only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people. Drugs out there on the market work, but they dont work in everybody. Dr. Allen Roses, GlaxoSmithKline
So you can see that a 42% rate of substantial improvement is within the range of most drugs on the market.
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What Are Iv Antibiotics For Lyme Disease
The most commonly used IV antibiotic administered in Lyme disease treatment is an extended family member of penicillin. Its a bacteria-fighting drug with a lot more oomph than oral antibiotics.
According to the International Journal of General Medicine, IV antibiotics are beneficial to Lyme patients, especially those experiencing neurological problems.
IV antibiotics are administered directly into a vein that sends the medicine right into the bloodstream. The full, purest form of the antibiotic enters your bloodstream immediately. It does not have to spend precious time traveling through the mouth, stomach, and organs. Within seconds of dosing, Lyme bacteria are being attacked in your bloodstream.
IV antibiotics are usually given up to two weeks, but that may vary based on your symptoms seriousness.
Recent Progress In Lyme Disease And Remaining Challenges
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States with an estimated 476,000 cases per year. While historically, the long-term impact of Lyme disease on patients has been controversial, mounting evidence supports the idea that a substantial number of patients experience persistent symptoms following treatment. The research community has largely lacked the necessary funding to properly advance the scientific and clinical understanding of the disease, or to develop and evaluate innovative approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Given the many outstanding questions raised into the diagnosis, clinical presentation and treatment of Lyme disease, and the underlying molecular mechanisms that trigger persistent disease, there is an urgent need for more support. This review article summarizes progress over the past 5 years in our understanding of Lyme and tick-borne diseases in the United States and highlights remaining challenges.
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