How Is Lyme Disease Treated
In most cases, the more quickly a patient is treated, the better the chances are for recovery. In the early stages of infection, before any potential neurological complications, oral antibiotic drugs will be prescribed to kill the infectiona combination of doxycycline and amoxicillin.
For Lyme disease that has begun to affect the nervous system, there is strong evidence that parenteral antibiotics work well to combat infection. These parenteral antibiotics include ceftriaxone, cefotaxime, and penicillin.
If neurological symptoms persist for months after initial treatment, patients will be treated with antibiotics again. But patients will not be treated with antibiotics for more than four weeks, because there is no evidence that prolonged treatment improves the symptoms of lingering neurological complications.
Do I Need To See An Infectious Disease Specialist To Get Tested For Lyme Disease
No, you do not need to see an infectious disease specialist.
As noted above, any type of physician should be able to order the correct diagnostic tests, interpret your test results, and provide antibiotics to treat Lyme disease. This is especially true the earlier the disease is caught.
In fact, American Lyme Disease Foundation points out that waiting for an appointment with an infectious disease or other type of specialist can actually delay your diagnosis and treatment. If you were bitten by a tick, notice symptoms of Lyme disease, or believe youre at risk for Lyme or another tick-borne disease, its important that you make an appointment with a doctor immediately even if its your primary care physician.
That said, there are plenty of reasons why you may want to consult with, or get a second opinion from, someone with specific experience with Lyme disease. In other words, you may want to make an appointment with a Lyme-literate doctor . Read on to learn more.
How To Approach Your Non
For various reasons, you may choose to consult with a doctor who doesnt specialize in Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases.
If so, be sure to be as proactive as possible in providing information that could help in diagnosing your disease, and always feel free to share resources that you find in your own research to prompt discussions about any aspect of your diagnosis or treatment, including more advanced testing options.
If your doctor does not believe Lyme disease exists, reach out to another doctor for a second opinion.
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The Importance Of Supporting The Immune System
Treating chronic Lyme involves extensive immune system support. When the immune system is under stress it produces an overload of molecules called cytokines. In high numbers, cytokines can cause more harm than good by overstimulating the immune system. A functional doctor can help patients combat this by reducing cytokine activity.
Some people experience overstimulation of the immune system or candida overgrowth due to the antibiotics. Telemedicine for Lyme disease is highly advantageous in these situations because you can notify your doctor immediately, making necessary adjustments without waiting for an office visit.
Lyme patients have unique experiences in the recovery process because Lyme disease can come with a variety of coinfections. They need customized treatment and frequent access to their doctor. This is most feasible with a telehealth Lyme expert.
Identify Doctors Trained In The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Tick
You can access a variety of online resources and directories to locate doctors who are specifically trained in identifying and treating tick-borne illnesses. These do not have to be infectious disease specialists they can be physicians from any practice area who simply have extensive experience with tick-borne diseases.
It is particularly important to find a Lyme expert if you suspect that you may have Lyme disease, since it is the most frequently misdiagnosed of all tick-borne diseases. Finding a Lyme-literate medical doctor a physician who is familiar with the vast range of symptoms that may indicate infection at various stages of the disease, as well as potential coinfections and other complexitiescan help ensure that you get the right treatment, right away.
To find a doctor who is also a Lyme expert, you may want to explore the following resources:
Note: Some of these organizations may require you to submit a form or create a login to access their databases.
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Do You Have Lyme Disease Symptoms And Answers
Early symptoms of the disease often manifest as a flu-like illness, with accompanying fever, chills, muscle aches, and joint pain. While the characteristic bulls-eye rash called erythema migrans is often present, many people develop a different type of rash or none at all. Moreover, a host of Lyme symptoms occur in other diseases, and as a result, many patients suffering from Lyme disease are misdiagnosed with conditions like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and other psychiatric illnesses before being correctly treated.
If Lyme is not diagnosed or treated in its early stages, it transitions to a chronic, highly problematic late-stage disease, and symptoms increase in their severity. Untreated Lyme disease will eventually infect joints, the heart, and the nervous systemcausing nerve paralysis and meningitis, and difficulty with memory and concentration. While one of the defining features of chronic Lyme disease is fatigue, Dr. Heyman discusses his own cases in which there were a myriad of presentations without any one defining symptom. Many of his patients had suffered severe cognitive decline, loss of executive function, memory problems, mood disturbances, chronic pain, cardiopulmonary problems and more. The debilitating effects of the disease then led to more devastating results: these patients often are unable to work, function in personal relationships, or complete simple daily activities without experiencing profound exhaustion.
The Earlier In The Course Of Tick Borne Disease That The Treatment Is Started The Better For The Patient And The Worse For The Microbes
Early detection, however, can be difficult. Lyme IS the most prevalent tick borne disease in the states and it is increasing in incidence year to year. Yet the Center for Disease Control estimates only 10% of the cases of Lyme disease are reported annually. This is because only 50% to 68% of patients have a clear bulls-eye rash. Only 26% ever see the tick that gives them Lyme disease. Most people do not know that a flu in the late spring, summer or early fall can be a sign of Lyme disease. Most doctors do not know that Lyme exists anywhere but the northeast part of the United States. So early treatment is a challenge. I try during tick season in Northern California to have short appointments to check out a tick bite or erythema migrans rash, in order to effect early treatment.
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Chronic Lyme Dos And Don’ts
Chronic Lyme disease is an ongoing Borrelia burgdorferi infection that can involve any body system or tissue. The infection produces a wide range of symptoms and signs, which can be debilitating for some patients. Common symptoms include severe fatigue, migratory musculoskeletal pain, headaches, and impaired memory. Unfortunately, chronic Lyme disease is complex and often misunderstood, which means that many patients will struggle to obtain the care they need to regain their health. Every patient concerned about Lyme disease and tick-borne illness should know the following.
A Pioneer In Lyme Disease
Our program is led by Allen Steere, MD, one of the world’s foremost experts on Lyme disease. Dr. Steere discovered the illness in 1976 and laid the foundation for understanding the many manifestations of the disease, including Lyme arthritis .
Today, Dr. Steere is researching why some patients with Lyme arthritis have persistent joint inflammation after using antibiotic therapy to eliminate the Lyme disease bacterium. This research is leading to improved diagnostic and treatment capabilities for such patients.
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Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Stage 3 or late disseminated Lyme disease is the final stage of the disease. A person may enter this stage if they did not receive treatment for Lyme disease in the early stages, or if their symptoms persisted despite treatment. As such, doctors sometimes refer to this stage as chronic or post-treatment Lyme disease .
Stage 3 Lyme disease can occur after an infected tick bites a person.
A person with stage 3 Lyme disease may experience additional symptoms, including:
- severe joint pain and swelling, known as chronic Lyme arthritis
- heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat, due to Lyme carditis
- inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- mental fogginess
What Kinds Of Neurological Problems Are Caused By Lyme Disease
Typically, three main neurological complications develop in people with untreated Lyme disease.
- Cranial neuropathy: If the infection affects nerves of the face, some patients might experience cranial neuropathyor dysfunction of the peripheral nervescausing drooping or swelling. The most common form of cranial neuropathy is Bells palsy, which is muscle drooping on one side of the face.
- Meningitis: If the bacterial infection reaches the meninges, or the tissue lining the brain and spinal column, it may cause inflammation and tissue damage. Patients with meningitis are likely to experience fevers, headache, fatigue, and stiff neck.
- Radiculoneuritis: If the bacterial infection reaches the nerve root, or the part of the nerve cells that attaches to the central nervous system , it can cause severe pain, numbness, and other abnormal sensations.
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The Chronic Lyme Controversy
Lyme disease, first identified in the United States in the 1970s, has grown into a health epidemic as the ticks that transmit it to humans expand their range. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that about 300,000 people in the U.S. become newly infected every year now. The symptoms can be debilitating, including neurological symptoms, extreme fatigue and muscle and joint pain.
When symptoms linger long after a diagnosed patient receives the standard antibiotic treatment, like the nurse in Maryland experienced, the patient may have a condition called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, a subset of chronic Lyme disease. Many experts in the field estimate about 10% to 20% of patients diagnosed with Lyme disease get this syndrome.
The controversy around chronic Lyme disease emerged when patient advocacy groups and some doctors began to use the term to describe patients who had nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue and pain, and testing did not always show that they had been exposed to Lyme disease.
At the heart of the controversy is the question: Can a person have a chronic bacterial infection that may not show up on tests?
These patients are frustrated with a medical establishment whose focus is on evidence-based treatment in a field where evidence is often lacking. Without a diagnosis by the establishment, these sick patients are often dismissed and cant get treated, leading to a sometimes toxic environment as they fight for treatment.
Healing Chronic Lyme Disease With Antibiotics And Herbal Treatments
The lab results determine the appropriate course of action for you. An integrative, Lyme literate doctor would likely first recommend the use of antibiotics or a combination or antibiotics and herbals.
Some of the most effective natural treatments for chronic Lyme disease include grapeseed extract, otoba bark and cats claw. Herbal treatments are a personalized medical intervention based on your immune systems ability to handle the treatment. Some functional medicine doctors may also recommend antimalarial drugs for certain strains of Lyme which resemble malaria.
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Infection With Lyme Bacteria Can Lead To Long
Its usually called chronic Lyme disease. But not everyone believes its real.
If you think your symptoms might be the result of a Lyme infection past or present Forum Health believes you. Our functional and integrative doctors will listen to you and start treatment based on clinical judgment even if tests are negative. Then well keep exploring.
We can treat chronic Lyme disease. Through a combination of antibiotics, IV therapies, and lifestyle changes, well work to address the root causes and get you well.
Why Is Lyme Controversial
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. Because the signs and symptoms vary widely, its called the great imitator, said to mimic several chronic conditions. These more conventional diagnoses are among the most common resulting from Lyme bacteria infection:
- Depression and anxiety
- Parkinsons and Alzheimers
The difficulty of diagnosing chronic Lyme disease is compounded by one fundamental problem: Many doctors believe it doesnt even exist. Its important to understand that much of the controversy is driven by semantics.
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are examples of idiopathic diseases. That means they dont have an apparent or known cause. To many people who are sick, chronic Lyme disease feels more accurate than an idiopathic label. It communicates that their symptoms are caused by an immune system response to infection. The mainstream medical community will use a more neutral term, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome , to imply that symptoms might have several causes.
In a strict sense, Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi the specific bacterial species discovered in the town of Lyme, Connecticut. But there are actually more than 300 strains of Borrelia that can cause similar chronic symptoms. While only burgdorferi is widely recognized as causing Lyme, the general public tends to lump all Borrelia infections together. This causes confusion.
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Is There An Effective Treatment For Lyme Disease
Dr. Dane was introduced to a new treatment for Lyme disease in 2017. It was not an antibiotic, nor was it an herbal remedy. It was a mineral compound produced in liquid form that could be turned into a gaseous state and nebulized. The product essentially acts as a fumigator and blasts the body with a blend of minerals that kills the spirochetes and improves immune function. Skeptical at first, Dr. Dane tracked eight patients over the course of a year that she had treated for the neurological effects of Lyme disease. Much to her amazement, seven of those patients were clear of Lyme just over a year later. Symptom relief varied from completely gone to 50% better. However, some effects of CLD cannot be reversed.
The mineral product is called Lyme-N, and, like many aspects of Lyme disease, its effectiveness is controversial. But this is the only treatment Dr. Dane has seen eradicate the spirochetes associated with CLD.
Dr. Dane has witnessed many patients put their trust in her after becoming frustrated with more traditional Lyme disease treatments at other medical facilities. The Carolina Brain Centers way of treating patients is built upon the tenets of functional neurology, which use a combination of medical technology and brain therapy to produce healing where possible and the easing of symptoms in other cases.
What Makes Yale Medicine’s Approach To Lyme Disease Unique
The discovery of Lyme disease is actually credited to two Yale physiciansAllan Steere, MD, and Stephen Malawista, MDwho identified the mysterious inflammatory disease after a rash of illnesses cropped up during the summer of 1975. That year, two mothers living in Old Lyme, Conn., refused to accept the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis among the children living in their town.
The mothers reached out to the Connecticut State Department of Health and the Yale School of Medicine for help, starting an epidemiological study that would ultimately uncover the bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. Today, doctors in Yale Medicines neurology department provide care for patients who have infections that affect the nervous system.
Thanks to a powerful partnership with research programs at Yale Medicine, patients benefit from the most recent advantages in treatment.
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When You May Need To See A Specialist
Though a family physician or general practitioner should be able to order the diagnostic tests for Lyme disease, there are some situations in which you may need to see a specialist. For example, untreated or misdiagnosed Lyme can develop into chronic Lyme disease, which can then lead to complications such as arthritic or neurological symptoms. In these cases, patients may need to see the following types of specialists:
- Rheumatologist Chronic joint problems from Lyme disease may need the care of a physician who specializes in rheumatology.
- Neurologist Chronic Lyme can be associated with debilitating neurological symptoms that must be treated by a specialist.
- Infectious disease specialist Again, even though this isnt always necessary, it can be helpful if your symptoms dont go away or become more complex.
- Cardiologist In the event that you develop the rare but dangerous complication known as Lyme carditis, you may need to see a cardiologist and even be fitted with a temporary pacemaker.
However, its important to remember that seeing a specialist for symptoms related to Lyme disease without treating Lyme disease is costly and dangerous. In other words, a rheumatologist or neurologist will not be able to treat your Lyme if no diagnosis has been made. They can simply help treat symptoms that result from chronic or untreated Lyme.
To treat Lyme disease, you must get an accurate diagnosis and be prescribed antibiotics.
Why You Might Need To See A Llmd:
- Your Lyme disease test results were negative, but you still have symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Youve been treated for Lyme disease in the past but still have symptoms, which could indicate chronic Lyme disease.
- Youve been treated or are being treated for common misdiagnoses of Lyme disease, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but your symptoms havent gone away.
- Your physician doesnt believe in Lyme disease, chronic Lyme disease, or Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.
Even patients who dont fall into the above categories may simply feel safer in the hands of a LLMD who is familiar with the various ways Lyme and other tick-borne diseases present themselves.
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Lyme Disease Conditions And Treatments In Greater Asheville
Infections with Lyme bacteria can lead to long-term illness.
The lyme disease condition is usually called chronic Lyme disease. But not everyone believes its real.
If you think your symptoms might be the result of a Lyme infection condition past or present Forum Health Asheville believes you. Our functional and integrative doctors will listen to you and start treatment based on clinical judgment even if tests are negative. Then well keep exploring.
We can treat chronic Lyme disease. Through a combination of antibiotics, IV therapies, and lifestyle changes, well work to address the root causes and get you well.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease condition is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the U.S., with the CDC estimating 300,000 diagnoses every year.
Its transmitted by black-legged deer ticks infected with Lyme bacteria. Strains active in the U.S. are typically from the bacterial species Borrelia burgdorferi.
After a bite from an infected tick, B. burgdorferi microbes can latch onto blood vessels and travel through your bloodstream. This allows their spread to key destinations like your heart, joints, and nervous system. Once hidden throughout your body, Lyme bacteria can suppress your immune system and survive acute treatment.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because the signs and symptoms vary widely, its called the great imitator, said to mimic several chronic conditions such as: