What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. In regions of the U.S. where Lyme disease is common, risk factors for getting bitten by a tick include:
- Spending a lot of time outdoors
- Proximity to areas between forest land and lawns, particularly if the area contains low-lying grasses or shrubs
Ticks can also attach to pets who may bring them into the home. The pet may become infected with Lyme disease. If the tick does not attach to the pet, it can attach to a human and transmit the infection.
How Can You Find Out If You Have Lyme Disease
If you suspect you have Lyme disease, the best way to get a more accurate diagnosis is to see a Lyme Disease specialist. Dr. Robin Ridinger is a board-certified family physician and integrative holistic medicine provider in Virginia. She has more than 25 years of experience as a family medicine doctor, and she is associated with the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society. She specializes in treating Lyme disease and other common co-infections, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid issues, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, adrenal fatigue, and more. She uses a holistic approach in addressing these conditions and creates customized, evidence-based plans for her patients which aim to attack the root cause of their symptoms, rather than just eliminating the symptoms themselves.
She can help figure out if Lyme disease is contributing to your fibromyalgia by conducting a thorough evaluation. This likely starts with, but does not end with, the typical lab tests used to diagnose early Lyme disease. A spinal tap or MRI can also help detect signs of Borrelia burgdorferi.
Dr. Ridinger will also deep dive into your symptoms and medical history. Some common symptoms of the infection include:
· Fever or chills
What Are Alternative Treatments For Lyme Disease
Alternative treatments for Lyme disease include a variety of medicines. Some of the more common types used are Homeopathy and herbal medicines. The main goal of these treatments is to stop the spread of the bacteria from other parts of the body to the brain, heart, and other organs.
Lyme disease can be an incredibly debilitating disease if its not treated early on. In many cases, people do not get treatment at all and end up suffering from chronic problems throughout their lives.
Read Also: How Do I Know If My Dog Has Lyme Disease
Q: Once Diagnosed How Should You Treat Lyme Disease
Research over the last three decades suggests that Lyme bacteria have multiple ways of evading the human immune system and that treating acute Lyme with 21 days of antibiotics fails approximately a third of patients.
For that reason, I treat in two phases. For early Lyme, I treat with four weeks of doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime antibiotics.
I follow this up with four more weeks of drugs that prevent and eradicate persister forms of the bacteria. The persisters are drug-tolerant and can revert to an active infection once the antibiotics are stopped.
I aggressively treat late-Lyme patients who have severe degenerative neurologic or rheumatologic cases. As noted above, the very sick patients frequently have a mixture of tick-borne infections.
For these patients, I choose a combination of oral or, when needed, intravenous antibiotics that target the pathogens known to be present.
Less Common Signs And Symptoms
Some patients experience no early signs or symptoms of Lyme disease. Others dont notice any rashes until they start developing later signs and symptoms. In rare cases, some people who contract Lyme disease never show any sign of having had the disease.
If youve been bitten by a tick and have symptoms
- Muscle soreness
- Fluid buildup under the skin
- Skin rashes
Antibiotics treat early Lyme disease effectively. If left alone, however, the infection will progress into late-stage Lyme disease. Left untreated, late-stage Lyme disease can lead to serious complications including arthritis, heart damage and neurological disorders.
To prevent progression to later stages of Lyme disease, antibiotics must be taken promptly when you first notice any sign or symptom of the disease.
You May Like: Lyme Research And Healing Center
Lyme Prevention Is Possible
There is no Lyme disease vaccine, but there are methods of prevention. Wearing long sleeves and pants when hiking, camping, or working will offer personal tick protection. Wearing clothes treated with permethrin can also help keep ticks away.
At home Lyme prevention is available through reputable tick control companies. Professional Central Mass tick control companies will offer a choice between repellents and insecticides. Repellents will keep ticks away from your yard. EPA-registered pesticides will eliminate ticks. Repellents and insecticides are available in time-released formulas. Time released tick control will give you about two or three weeks of protection at home.
Dont forget to protect your home year-round. Tick tubes offer extended tick control through the fall and winter. Employing this kind of tick control will result in less ticks on your property in the springtime.
Stage : Early Localized Lyme Disease
Stage 1 or early localized Lyme disease occurs 128 days following a tick bite.
Some people with stage one Lyme disease do not experience any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include the following:
- a skin rash that may or may not resemble a bulls-eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and a fever
- swollen lymph nodes
Don’t Miss: Can Lyme Disease Cause Hair Loss In Dogs
Azlocillin Comes Out On Top
The drug, which is not on the market, was tested in mouse models of Lyme disease at seven-day, 14-day and 21-day intervals and found to eliminate the infection. For the first time, azlocillin was also shown to be effective in killing drug-tolerant forms of B. burgdorferi in lab dishes, indicating that it may work as a therapy for lingering symptoms of Lyme disease.
Pothineni and Rajadas have patented the compound for the treatment of Lyme disease and are working with a company to develop an oral form of the drug. Researchers plan to conduct a clinical trial.
Rajadas is also a professor of bioengineering and therapeutic sciences at the University of California-San Francisco.
Other Stanford co-authors are Hari-Hara S. K. Potula, PhD, senior research scientist postdoctoral scholars Aditya Ambati, PhD, and Venkata Mallajosyula, PhD senior research scientist Mohammed Inayathullah, PhD and intern Mohamed Sohail Ahmed.
A researcher at Loyola College in India also contributed to the work.
The study was funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation and Laurel STEM Fund.
- Tracie White
Does Lyme Disease Go Way On Its Own If Untreated
Often one of the first that comes to mind is, Will Lyme disease go away if left untreated? The short answer, unfortunately, is a definite, emphatic no. Lyme is not the type of infection that can be eradicated off the bodys own steam in fact, instead of curing it, the immune system compounds the symptoms and acts in tandem with the bacteria.
Read Also: Lyme Disease In Brain Treatment
The Main Controversies Surrounding Lyme Disease
The blood test the CDC recommends to diagnose Lyme checks for an immune response to the bacteria, not for the Borrelia itself. Thats why the test can be negative if the disease is present for less than a month. It takes at least a couple of weeks to mount an immune response that would turn the test positive. It is easier to diagnose Lyme if you have the classic bulls-eye rash that shows up a few days after the tick bite. In these cases, testing is not even necessary. But the rash only shows up in 80% of cases.
If making a diagnosis can be complex, the controversy about the treatment is so intense that some have even coined the dispute Lyme wars. The clash emerged from doctors offices, and spread to public hearings in statehouses around the country. One of the main points of contention is the duration of antibiotic treatment not only for acute Lyme but also for PTLD. The evidence to recommend a specific length of antibiotics treatment is scarce. Most physicians follow the two- to-four-week treatment the CDC recommends. Some studies funded by the National Institutes of Health did not show any benefit when patients used several months of antibiotics. However, there is anecdotal evidence from a few patients who improved after months of antibiotic treatment. The naysayers believe this is probably due to a placebo effect.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
In the first stage, called early localized infection, people often feel tired and weak. This could be because their immune system has been weakened by the infection. People also might experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat, swollen glands, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion, memory loss, vision problems, numbness or tingling around your mouth or tongue, difficulty swallowing, joint pain, stiff neck, backache, abdominal discomfort, constipation, changes in bowel habits, and/or painful urination. These symptoms usually last less than three weeks.
You May Like: How Long Can A Person Live With Lyme Disease
How To Spot And Remove Ticks
If you find a tick attached to your body, carefully pull it out using tweezers. Dont squeeze too hard because this could hurt the animal. If theres any doubt about whether the tick has been removed completely, leave it where it was until someone else removes it.
You should check yourself regularly for ticks while walking through woodland, especially at dusk and dawn. Youll need to keep looking down so you dont miss any ticks.
How Do You Know If Your Lyme Disease Is Treated And Finished
Patients ask me this question all the time. We diagnose the disease, we treat with antibiotics, or herbs, or homeopathics. We feel better. We stop the treatment. And either we continue to feel better, or we relapse and have to start all over again.
Is there no way to test whether the spirochete is gone?
The Lyme disease.org website has an excellent article ondiagnosis of Lyme disease.
The National Geographic website has a good description of the deer tick, and thehistory of Lyme disease.
Standard Lyme testing includes the following:
- ELISA or IFA test
- If that test is positive, then a Western Blot test is run
- If 5 out of the 10 possible Lyme bands are positive, you are diagnosed with Lyme disease
- If fewer than 5 of the 10 possible bands are positive, you are diagnosed as negative.
Not all the bands which appear on a Western blot are specific to Lyme disease even though one ofthose non-specific bands is required by the CDC for diagnosis.
Two of the bands which are specific to Lyme disease are not on the CDC list of bands required to be positive.
How much sense does that make?
For more detailed information about the IFA and Western blot testing, check out theIGeneX website.
There is another test that can give us an idea whether the Lyme disease is actually gone out of our systems. This is an inflammatory marker, so it tells us whether there is continued inflammation or whether that inflammation is no longer present.
Also Check: Can Dogs Get Lyme Disease
Also Check: Lyme Disease Specialist Los Angeles
Potential Treatment For Lyme Disease Kills Bacteria That May Cause Lingering Symptoms Study Finds
Screening thousands of drugs, Stanford scientists determined that in mice, azlocillin, an antibiotic approved by the Food and Drug Administration, eliminated the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Deer ticks are vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.Scott Bauer/USDA Agricultural Research Service
For decades, the routine treatment for Lyme disease has been standard antibiotics, which usually kill off the infection. But for up to 20% of people with the tick-borne illness, the antibiotics dont work, and lingering symptoms of muscle pain, fatigue and cognitive impairment can continue for years sometimes indefinitely.
A new Stanford Medicine study in lab dishes and mice provides evidence that the drug azlocillin completely kills off the disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi at the onset of the illness. The study suggests it could also be effective for treating patients infected with drug-tolerant bacteria that may cause lingering symptoms.
This compound is just amazing, said Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory at the Stanford School of Medicine. It clears the infection without a lot of side effects. We are hoping to repurpose it as an oral treatment for Lyme disease. Rajadas is the senior author of the study, which was published online March 2 in Scientific Reports. The lead author is research associate Venkata Raveendra Pothineni, PhD.
How I Stopped Chasing A Cureand Healed From Lyme Disease
At 28 years old, and after years of suffering from medical issues that no doctor across the U.S. could unravel, I was finally given a name to the condition that had taken almost my entire life away: late-stage Lyme disease.
I took my diagnosis like an over-sized bag of groceries at the checkout stand, wrapped my arms around as best I could, and set off to get a cure and get back to life.
But it didnt work seamlessly. It didnt work easily. It really didnt work at all.
I tried treatment after treatment trying to save my young life. With some treatments, I saw massive improvement, only later to rebound in ways that deflated me again.
But I continued searching with inner chaos, ruled by fear. I feared I was missing the cure, not choosing the right treatments, not looking in the right places.
I went on marathon internet searches, talked to everyone I could find with Lyme disease, and was in a constant state of panic that my broken body would never be put back together again.
Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The common sign in this disease is a rash, which is circular and which expands outwardly. It has a red center, which is the place of the tick bite. It becomes dark red and indurated over time, whereas the outward rash is red and expands outwardly, clearing the middle of the two. It is called erythema migrans . It looks like a classic target or bulls eye. Hence, it is also known as a target lesion. This rash is not painful or itchy. Along with this rash, there could be other symptoms present, like fever, headaches, neck stiffness, joint pain and muscle soreness. In severe cases, there may be facial palsy- paralysis of one or both sides of face, meningitis, arrhythmia etc. There might be a loss of memory due to mild encephalitis.
This disease can spread throughout the body through blood and thus can cause serious damage to almost any organ and system of the body. Hence, Lyme disease presents with a wide range of symptoms that are largely due to the affected organs.
Diagnosis Testing And Treatment
You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.
Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.
It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:
If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.
* Silver HM. Lyme disease during pregnancy. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1997 Mar 11:93-7.
Read Also: Google What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
How To Promote Healing From Lyme Disease
byJennifer Crystalon February 28, 2022
Here are several ways to support ones recovery including following a Lyme diet, detoxing, and listening to your body.
If youve been diagnosed with Lyme disease, the most pressing question you probably have is, when will I get better? I wish there was a simple answer, but because every case of Lyme disease is different, healing looks different for each patient. If your Lyme disease was diagnosed right away, chances are youll feel better after a short course of antibiotics . If you were diagnosed at a later stage of the disease, the infection will be harder to treat, particularly if it is complicated by co-infections. Recovery also depends on your own immune system, how you respond to treatment, and any other co-morbidities you may have.
What is healing from Lyme disease and why does it matter?
The second part of this question is obvious: it matters because you want to resume your life! The first part is a bit more nuanced. Everyone wants to feel 100% better and be able to do everything they could before they got sick. If you have a clear-cut case of early localized Lyme disease, you may very well reach this goal. If your Lyme disease took a long time to get diagnosed, crossed the blood-brain barrier, is complicated by co-infections, or if other factors make your case more complex, recovery may not be so easy.
Define healing for yourself
Find the right medical help