A Long Journey Of Pain And Misdiagnosis
Tait estimates that she had Lyme for about 15 years before she was diagnosed. She thinks she was bitten by a tick as a teen in Californias Bay Area, where she grew up. In high school, she was a dancer. Suddenly she was getting injured more than usual joints coming out of their sockets and ligaments tearing after doing normal routines. During class, she was exhausted and having trouble concentrating. Her grades started to slip.
Looking back, its now clear I was neurologically starting to not be myself, she said. But when youre a teenager, a lot of it is just attributed to, Youre a teenager!
Tait, who was thin with a bubbly personality, recalled one doctor telling her she was too pretty to be sick.
Eventually she was diagnosed with depression and prescribed an antidepressant.
In college, Tait started to experience seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
My fatigue was getting worse, she said. I was dropping out of classes left and right and I would get sick constantly. Thats where this weird sort of self-fulfilling prophecy came in: I was depressed. But I wasnt sick because I was depressed. I was depressed because I was sick.
But once they put epilepsy down , at least I had turned a corner where they had a label on something, Tait continued. Then would just add things You have fibromyalgia and you probably also have chronic fatigue syndrome. But they didnt tell me how to fix it. Everything was, Try antidepressants because we dont really know.
Do All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
No. Commonly known as deer ticks, the tiny blacklegged ticks are the ones that carry Lyme disease. Immature ticks, called nymphs, are about the size of a poppyseed and adults are about the size of a sesame seed. Ticks at both of those life stages can transmit the bacteria that causes the disease.
But not all blacklegged ticks will give you Lyme disease. It depends on the area, Lewis says, but you can have up to half of the ticks carrying bacteria.
What Are The Symptoms Of Post
Some of the symptoms are more severe versions of the symptoms of acute Lyme disease: headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, and stiffness. But there can also be facial palsy , arthritis and swelling, heart palpitations, dizziness, shooting pain or numbness, and difficulty thinking from brain and spinal cord swelling.
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Things You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Co-Authored by Dr. Ellen and Dr. Scott Antoine. Comments and Edits by Dr. JP Saleeby
The co-authors of this article Dr. Ellen and Dr. Scott Antoine at the Center for Fully Functional Health grew up in New York and it wasnt uncommon for a friend or family member to be diagnosed with Lyme disease. Their complaints typically consisted of rash with or without joint pain. They were typically given antibiotics for some period of time and told they were healed. For me an ER doctor practicing in GA, SC and NC all through medical school, residency, and working as an Emergency Medicine attending, I can not remember ever being taught to consider Lyme disease, seeing a patient present with it, or personally diagnosing a case of Lyme. The Infectious Disease Society of America does not even recognize Lyme as a problem and chronic persistent Lyme disease as a syndrome. The International Lyme & Associated Disease Society on the other hand does understand chronic Lyme and how to properly diagnose and treat. The organization even renamed the condition MSIDS. I did my training under the internationally known and respected Lyme doctor Dr. Richard Horowitz. I have been a member in good standing with ILADS since 2014. Lyme disease is now not only an endemic disease in high risk states in the USA but is a worldwide epidemic seen in Europe, Asia, South America, etc.
Lyme Disease Blood Test Results Fully Explained
The Lyme disease blood test is used to discover if someone who has the symptoms of a Borrelia burgdorferi infection actually has the bacteria in their bloodstream. Recent infections are much easier to detect and an IgM and IgG blood test will often be ordered as complimentary information gathering tools. This blood test does not always detect the presence of the disease, so patients that have persistent symptoms after having the test may be re-tested in a few weeks.
If any of these tests come back as positive, then other samples will be used to track the stage of the disease to determine if it has reached the chronic infection stage. At this point, a medical provider will order a Western blot test to confirm the presence of Lyme disease.
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How Can I Tell If I Have Lyme Disease
Lyme disease should be clinically diagnosed. This means a medical professional must evaluate your symptoms, physical findings, exposure risk, and any test results to determine whether you have the disease. No single factor or test result is enough to determine whether you do or do not have Lyme or other tick-borne illnesses.
Why Isnt A Test Result Enough To Tell Me If I Have Lyme
Common tests for Lyme disease include ELISAs and Western blots. Both tests work by detecting the patients antibodies reacting to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Many factors affect that response and the tests ability to measure it, and can produce both false positive and false negative results. Although the CDC recommends a two-step testing process, consisting of an ELISA as a first test, followed by a Western Blot only if the ELISA is positive or uncertain, i.e. no further testing if the first step is negative, this testing scheme is insensitive. Additionally, positive results might reflect an old, rather than current infection. This is why testing is only one part of the information that contributes to making the diagnosis.
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When And How To Disclose You Have Lyme
Reports show there are over 300,000 Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. That means there are over 300,000 people wondering when and how to tell family, friends, employers and others they have Lyme disease.
Factor in the people who have Lyme but are misdiagnosed,with those people who have not sought a diagnosis yet, and it becomes obviousLyme disease is an epidemic.
With this epidemic comes a stigma, an unwarranted stigma, that makes people feel insecure when it comes to revealing their diagnosis.
With Lyme being the fastest growing infectious bacterial disease in the U.S., its time we start figuring out how to break down barriers, remove stigmas, and be comfortable bringing awareness to this issue.
Disclosing your Lyme disease diagnosis needs to happen. Depending on the person you are entrusting with this information, when and how you deliver the message can vary. Keep reading for tips to help you move forward with your disclosures.
What Is Lyme Disease
This bacterial infection is spread through the bite of a young deer tick or black-legged tick. These eight-legged creatures, about the size of a poppy seed, can be found in wooded and grassy areas throughout the United States, especially in New England and the Rocky Mountains.
Because these ticks are so small, most people donât realize when theyâre bitten. But the longer a tick stays attached to you, the more likely it is to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi , if the tick is a carrier.
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What To Do When You Get Bit By A Tick
If you get bit by a tick and you have the tick in your possession, get it tested at your local testing facility. The facility will likely test it for Borrelia burgdorferi. We also recommend you get tested as well, even if you are not experiencing symptoms or you did not get a bullseye rash. Nearly half of the people who contract Lyme disease dont even show signs of a bullseye rash.
If you think you may have Lyme disease and you have been dealing with symptoms for months or even years, you are likely disillusioned with your health journey and you need some well-deserved answers. You dont have to accept your symptoms as a life sentence as even the most complex cases can be helped. We have a strong track record of helping our clients get to the root cause of their symptoms so they can get on a lasting road to recovery. If you have questions or you just want to talk to someone about your health journey, we are here for you. Go here to book a 30-minute complimentary call with one of our trained health advisers. Be well!
How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
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What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. In the United States, this is usually a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It spreads to humans through the bite of an infected tick. The ticks that spread it are blacklegged ticks . They are usually found in the:
- Upper Midwest
- Pacific coast, especially northern California
These ticks can attach to any part your body. But they are often found in hard-to-see areas such as your groin, armpits, and scalp. Usually the tick must be attached to you for 36 to 48 hours or more to spread the bacterium to you.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease Or Other Tick
Recommendations on preventing ticks include these from AKCs Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein:
- Inspect your dogs and yourself daily for ticks after walks through the woods or grassy settings. On dogs, look especially on the feet , on lips, around eyes, ears , near the anus, and under the tail.
- Remove ticks stat. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites. Learn the proper method of tick removal. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers used for this purpose. If you are unable to do so, consult with a veterinarian.
- Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam. Theyll be able to find any you may have missed.
- Prevent ticks from jumping on your dog with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick preparations available on the market. Speak to your veterinarian to find the best and most appropriate product for your dog.
- Keep grass mowed as short as possible. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can.
- Get your dog vaccinated. Vaccination could prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease. They may not be appropriate for some dogs, so discuss with your vet.
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Regression And Other Symptoms In Children
Children are the largest population of Lyme patients.
The CDC study of reported Lyme cases from 19922006 found that the incidence of new cases was highest among 5- to 14-year-olds . About one quarter of reported Lyme cases in the United States involve children under 14 years old .
Children can have all the signs and symptoms of Lyme that adults have, but they may have trouble telling you exactly what they feel or where it hurts.
You may notice a decline in school performance, or your childs mood swings may become problematic.
Your childs social and speech skills or motor coordination may regress. Or your child may lose their appetite.
Children are more likely than adults to have arthritis as an initial symptom 01267-2/fulltext#sec0040″ rel=”nofollow”> 25).
In a 2012 Nova Scotian study of children with Lyme, 65 percent developed Lyme arthritis . The knee was the most commonly affected joint.
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For women who have Lyme disease, the struggle can be especially difficult, given the complicated nature of the disease.
“The problem with Lyme disease is that there are so many different strains,” said Dr. Andrea Gaito, a New Jersey-based rheumatologist who specializes in treating Lyme disease. “One person can have it and have headaches, someone else can have joint pain, someone else can have palpitations. And none of these are specific to Lyme. There’s no Lyme test that’s 100% accurate. Unless you have a tick in a baggie, literally, and a bulls-eye rash, there’s sometimes a delay in diagnosis.”
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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.
- Report being bitten by a tick, or
- Live in, or have recently visited, a tick-infested area.
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.
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How Is It Diagnosed
If youâve been outside in an area where ticks are known to live, you should tell your doctor. Theyâll also want to know about the symptoms youâre having. These details are crucial to making a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Early symptoms that usually occur within the first month after a tick bite can include:
- Rash at the site of the tick bite that may look like a âbullâs-eyeâ
- Racing heart
- Problems with your short-term memory
Symptoms that come and go are common with Lyme disease. They will also depend on the stage of the disease.
Telling Family And Friends
Think of all the family members you want to know you have Lyme disease. You may want to tell each one separately, or you may want to tell them as a group. Each family member will react differently. Some will stay silent out of shock others will want to hug you. There may be some family members that respond inappropriately.
Pre-planning when and how you tell family is key. You wantto pick a place that is private and makes you feel comfortable. You also want aplace that lets you take your time answering the questions they will have.
Furthermore, how you tell them needs to include the factsabout Lyme, the treatment option you are choosing, and what you need from eachof your family members. Its okay to ask for help. Be specific in telling whatyou need, and then allow them to help.
You may want some family members to attend doctor appointments and support groups with you to help them gain insight into how Lyme is affecting your life.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Tick Bite
Many people who develop the disease do not remember seeing ticks or being bitten. Tick bites commonly occur from May to September in North America, although blacklegged ticks can be active most of the year. Ticks sometimes move around on the body but they usually attach themselves to the skin and stay in one place. Before feeding, ticks look like small, brown scabs or freckles. After feeding, ticks may swell considerably, and could be as big as a raisin or a small grape.
Follow the link for more information about blacklegged ticks from the Government of Canada.