The Chronic Lyme Disease Controversy
Chronic Lyme disease is a poorly defined term that describes the attribution of various atypical syndromes to protracted Borrelia burgdorferi infection. These syndromes are atypical for Lyme disease in their lack of the objective clinical abnormalities that are well-recognized in Lyme disease and, in many cases, the absence of serologic evidence of Lyme disease as well as the absence of plausible exposure to the infection. The syndromes usually diagnosed as CLD include chronic pain, fatigue, neurocognitive, and behavioral symptoms, as well as various alternative medical diagnosesmost commonly neurologic and rheumatologic diseases. Perhaps the most recognized and contentious facet of this debate is whether it is effective, appropriate, or even acceptable to treat patients with protracted antibiotic courses based on a clinical diagnosis of CLD.
Fighting Chronic Lyme Disease Aggressively A Lost Cause When Advanced Afs Is Present
Returning to the topic of conventional antibiotic courses for Lyme disease treatment, by now, it should be clear that simply piling on more indiscriminate antibiotics for a longer period of time may not be helpful, and may, in fact, end up causing more harm to the body. The weaker the body, as in the case of advanced AFS, the greater the risk.
First of all, the immune system response is already weakened by advanced Adrenal Fatigue, meaning that even if 99.9 percent of bacteria are eradicated by antibiotics, the immune response wont be able to finish off the job, allowing Borrelia and other co-infections, such as mycoplasma, ehrlichiosis, chlamydia, babesiosis, Epstein-Barr, CMG, and candida, to migrate intracellularly or activate their biofilm defense mechanisms, thus going into hiding in order to survive and infect another day.
So, we can clearly see that continued aggressive use of antibiotics without a comprehensive understanding of how the Lyme pathogen actually works is far from beneficial to the bodys health. In fact, it seems to be detrimental and contributes to the negative health spiral formed when both advanced Adrenal Fatigue and chronic Lyme disease are present. Recognizing and appreciating this relationship is a critical step in successfully fighting Lyme disease, especially since the recovery strategies are quite different.
What Causes Neuropsychiatric Symptoms In Lyme Disease
In tick-borne infections, it is believed damage to the nervous system can occur in three ways leading to neuropsychiatric symptoms. In the vascular form, tissue death in the brain can take place. In addition, infection with Borrelia within the central nervous system can lead to atrophy and encephalitis of the brain. The third type of damage happens outside of the central nervous system and causes an inflammatory response that affects the central nervous system.
Like many systemic symptoms associated with Lyme disease, neuropsychiatric symptoms can be caused by the immune response sparking inflammation.
The persistent immune response even after the pathogen has been eliminated includes inflammatory cytokines and autoimmune processes. Lyme bacteria has been shown to trigger antibodies to neuronal tissue leading to neurodegeneration.
Metabolic changes can also be induced by Lyme infections. The mitochondria in the central nervous system can become damaged from oxidative stress associated with tick-borne infections. Mitochondrial dysfunction leads to cognitive issues and fatigue. Inflammatory cytokines also cause an increase in quinolinic acid, a metabolite that contributes to neurotoxicity. People infected with Lyme borreliosis have increased levels of quinolinic acid in their central nervous system contributing to depression and poor cognition.
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How Is Morphea Treated
There is no cure for morphea. Type of treatment depends on the type of morphea and how severe it is. Current treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms until the morphea goes away on its own, typically within five years. For more limited morphea , treatment is considered optional and may include:
- a vitamin D cream called calcipotriene
For more generalized or quickly progressive types of morphea, doctors may recommend oral medications such as methotrexate or high-dose steroids.
At home, you can apply moisturizers to help soften your skin. Try to avoid long, hot showers or anything that can dry out your skin. Other treatments include:
- applying sunscreen before going outside
- avoiding harsh soaps and chemicals on your skin
- using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, particularly during winter
- exercising regularly to improve blood circulation
In more severe cases, including lesions that cause disfigurement or joint problems, more aggressive therapy might be needed to help fight inflammation and prevent deformities, including:
- physical therapy
Children with morphea on their head and neck should see an ophthalmologist, a specialist in eye problems, for regular eye exams.
What Are Common Lyme Disease Flare
When the symptoms of Lyme disease return in a flare-up, they will be similar to those that appeared during the initial infection. In some cases, the symptoms can be worse. Some patients with chronic Lyme disease flare-ups may also experience new symptoms that werent present during the initial infection stage of the disease.
The many symptoms that occur during a Lyme disease flare-up can include:
- Mood changes, such as becoming more irritable or experiencing increased or new depression or anxiety
- Poor quality of sleep that results in daytime tiredness
- Issues with balance and dizziness
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Pain in the muscles that can be localized or across the entire body
- Vision issues, such as blurred vision
- Body pain that does not go away
Not everyone with a Lyme disease flare-up will experience all these symptoms, as each case is unique.
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Unexplained Pain And Other Sensations
Some people with Lyme may have sharp rib and chest pains that send them to the emergency room, suspecting a heart problem 00090-7/abstract%20″ rel=”nofollow”> 27).
When no problem is found, after the usual testing, the ER diagnosis is noted as an unidentified musculoskeletal cause.
You can also have strange sensations like skin tingling or crawling, or numbness or itchiness 00090-7/abstract%20″ rel=”nofollow”> 27).
Other symptoms have to do with cranial nerves.
- Ear-ringing . Tinnitus can be a nuisance, especially at bedtime when it seems to get louder as youre trying to fall asleep. About 10 percent of people with Lyme experience this (
- Hearing loss. One study reported that 15 percent of Lyme patients experienced loss of hearing .
- Jaw pain or toothaches that are not related to actual tooth decay or infection.
The Confusing Terminology Of Chronic Lyme Disease
The mere name chronic Lyme disease is in itself a source of confusion. Lyme disease, in conventional use, specifically describes infection with the tick-borne spirochete B burgdorferi sensu lato. The diagnosis chronic Lyme disease, by incorporating that terminology, connotes a similar degree of microbiologic specificity the addition of the word chronic further implies that there is some distinction between chronic Lyme disease and other manifestations of the infection. This distinction in itself is problematic because several manifestations of Lyme disease may indeed present subacutely or chronically, including Lyme arthritis, acrodermatitis chronicum atrophicans, borrelial lymphocytoma, and late Lyme encephalopathy.
Chronic Lyme disease, however, has no clinical definition and is not characterized by any objective clinical findings. The only published attempt to define CLD provisionally produced a description too broad to distinguish CLD from myriad other medical conditions, and the case definition did not mention evidence of B burgdorferi infection . The absence of a definition makes it impossible to investigate whether a patient population with putative CLD has evidence of infection with B burgdorferi this would seem to be a basic requirement to include a syndrome within the term Lyme disease. It stands to reason that it is impossible to even posit a well-designed antibiotic trial when the study population is undefined.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The tricky thing about Lyme disease is that there is not a single example of a symptom that must be present in every case. Instead, there are a variety of factors, with any combination of the symptoms present. Another problem is that these symptoms are often very vague, and people do not always pay enough attention to them. However, here are some examples of the most common Lyme disease symptoms.
One characteristic of Lyme disease symptoms is that there is a chance of different types of Lyme disease symptoms making an appearance as the condition worsens. In the first stages of the disease, one fairly common occurrence with Lyme disease is the appearance of a red, irritated area at the point where the tick bite took place.
You Have A Fever And Chills But It’s Not The Flu Or Covid
Other common symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, and body aches.
If that trio sounds familiar, it’s because the symptoms can appear after any infection, such as COVID-19 or the flu. You can get tested at a doctor’s office to rule out other illnesses, but antibodies for Lyme disease typically don’t show up on tests for weeks after infection, according to the CDC.
Fredericks recommended checking for the bull’s-eye rash to set early Lyme disease symptoms apart from something like the flu.
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There Is Also A Good Chance That Your Condition Is Treatable With Antibiotics
Next, understand that a Lyme disease diagnosis does not necessarily mean you are about to have a huge shift in your general state of health. If your Lyme disease diagnosis comes in the early stages of your condition, the chances are that you will not experience much more than the symptoms that led you to seek medical attention. There is also a good chance that your condition is treatable with antibiotics. More severe conditions like the so-called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome PTLDS are rather rare. Keep this in mind and dont allow yourself to be troubled by horror stories. Focus on the facts and get the treatments you require.
Last, listen to your doctor. Once your condition is under control, talk with your doctor about possible ways you could have contracted the disease. For example, if you are in the habit of walking through the woods in a short-sleeved shirt and a pair of shorts, you may want to wear more clothing. This will make you less susceptible to the deer ticks that often spread the disease. After consulting with your doctor, you can take steps to make some changes in how you do things so that the chances of a recurring bout of Lyme disease is minimized.
Resources For Maine Residents
Public Law, Chapter 340, LD 597, 126th Maine State Legislature: An Act to Inform Persons of the Options for the Treatment of Lyme Disease
- Acknowledges difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease
- Information on risks of long term antibiotic therapy
Public Law, Chapter 235, LD 422, 127th Maine State Legislature: An Act to Improve Access to Treatments for Lyme Disease
- Allows licensed physicians to prescribe long-term antibiotic therapy to eliminate infection or to control a patients symptoms
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Early Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control each year. The risk of Lyme disease is greatest in the spring and summer when the disease is commonly transmitted through tick bites.
Preventing tick bites is key to fending off an infection, but if you do get bit, look out for these early symptoms of Lyme disease:
Pets Or Other People My Bring Ticks Into Your House
Your pet or other people may be carrying the ticks into your house. That being said, keep in mind that there is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease directly to their owners. Same with other people. While you cannot get infected from touching, kissing, or having sex with a person who has Lyme disease, a visitor to your house may unknowingly be carrying ticks into your home.
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Essentially, there is not any way to completely isolate yourself from the potential for contracting Lyme disease. The only possible method would be to refrain from any contact with another living thing, human being or animal. Even then, there is some small chance of infection by handling goods that were previously packaged by other human hands.
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Risk Factors For Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Youre at risk for early disseminated Lyme disease if youve been bitten by an infected tick and remain untreated during stage 1 of Lyme disease.
Youre at an increased risk of contracting Lyme disease in the United States if you live in one of the areas where most Lyme disease infections are reported. They are:
- any of the Northeastern states from Maine to Virginia
- the north central states, with the highest incidence in Wisconsin and Minnesota
- parts of the West Coast, primarily northern California
Certain situations also can increase your risk of coming into contact with an infected tick, such as:
- gardening, hunting, hiking, or doing other outside activities in areas where Lyme disease is a potential threat
- walking or hiking in high grass or wooded areas
- having pets that may carry ticks into your home
Can You Prevent A Lyme Disease Flare
The best way to prevent a Lyme disease flare-up is by avoiding contracting Lyme disease in the first place. This can be done by always taking precautions against ticks and checking for ticks after spending time in wooded areas. Since Lyme disease is incredibly difficult to treat, and many people are often unaware that they even have it until it has had time to wreak havoc across the entire body, its especially important to avoid contracting the infection where possible.
For those who have already contracted and been diagnosed with Lyme disease, getting proper treatment is the best way to deal with, manage, and prevent Lyme flare-ups. Some tips for preventing Lyme disease from flaring up include:
- Identify your triggers by listening to your body
- Reduce stress levels by practicing stress management techniques
- Continue with proper Lyme disease treatment
- Practice good sleep hygiene so you have the best chance at getting good-quality sleep
- Avoid the consumption of sugar and alcohol
- Rest if you dont feel well
- Find a mental health provider that may help you cope with the symptoms of the disease and prevent any mental changes from worsening
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Supplements For Mental And Emotional Support:
Alpha lipoic acid : A powerful antioxidant, ALA eases depression, improves memory, and supports healthy brain functions often problems areas for individuals with Lyme disease. Try 1,500 mg daily.
SAMe : SAMe not only fights depression but also alleviates joint pain and inflammation. Start with 400 mg daily. If you arent noticing improvement after a week or so, increase the dosage gradually. Up to 1,600 mg daily is considered safe. Individuals with Parkinsons, diabetes, and bipolar disorder should consult their physicians before taking SAMe, as it may affect these conditions.
How Can I Help My Limping Dog
The best thing you can do for your limping dog is to have him checked by a veterinarian in your area. Once the Dr. determines the underlying cause, you need to follow his/her instructions carefully using pain medication , apply heating/pads or ice packs, practice cage rest, walking exclusively on a leash, or maybe going to physical therapy.
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Youve Gotten A Positive Blood Test
The fourth and final point to determine if your symptoms are due to Lyme disease is to ask your healthcare provider to run a blood test. Although there are several different laboratory tests to diagnose Lyme disease, these tests each have their pros and cons, and can miss establishing the diagnosis because they are not sensitive enough to always pick up the presence of the bacteria.
A bullseye rash is a classic manifestation of Lyme disease, and does not require a positive blood test, but less than 50% of people may get the rash, and it may be located in a part of the body where the rash cannot easily be seen.
If you suffer from chronic unexplained symptoms, including fatigue and musculoskeletal pain, follow this four-step approach and ask your doctor for a professional opinion.
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Lyme Disease And Fatigue
byJennifer Crystalon January 21, 2022
The severity of fatigue that comes with Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses can be difficult to describe because Lyme disease fatigue is a whole different story
When I was sick with COVID-19 in 2020, I continued working despite my mild fatigue, shortness of breath, low-grade fever, loss of taste and smell, and persistent cough. Though these symptoms were no walk in the park, they werent completely debilitating. For some COVID-19 patients, symptoms have rendered them bedridden, hospitalized, or worse. I was lucky not only to survive early COVID-19, but to have a moderate case.
For me, the fatigue of COVID-19 was nothing compared to the fatigue of Lyme disease. Lyme disease fatigue has become the barometer by which I measure all other fatigue, whether its general tiredness or illness-related. The severity of fatigue that comes with Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses can be difficult to describe, because fatigue can be defined many ways. It can mean muscle soreness after a workout, burnout after a long week, or yawns that come when you just didnt sleep well. Fatigue can also mean general malaise from the pandemic, or sleepiness from any number of stressors. Then theres feeling like your head is spinning after staying up all night finishing an assignment or tending to a crying baby.
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The Effects Of Lyme Disease On Your Sleep
Most people who have Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases feel constantly exhausted and fatigued. Its a bit like having chronic flu. Even if you have been accurately diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, you still may struggle against severe fatigue. The reason is that your body is working hard to fight the infection and is often burdened by an accumulation of toxins.
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And enough good quality sleep is highly essential for the recovery process. Unfortunately, most people do not know that Lyme disease damages their mitochondria and that the repair only takes place in deep sleep. Sleep is, therefore, one of the most crucial factors in the treatment of Lyme disease.