Alternate Treatments Offer Relief
Freitas now takes Epsom salt baths on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and uses an infrared sauna for detoxification, saying it makes her body feel better.
And she now takes 30 pills each day, interspersing antibiotics with herbs and dietary supplements, which cost upwards of $1,200 a month.
For babesia Im taking liquid gold Mepron, said Freitas. Its really expensive. Its 50 bucks for 80 milliliters, which lasts two weeks.
She gave up dairy, gluten, and sugar to reduce inflammation.
And she meets with Shor monthly online from her house at a charge of $250 per visit, which insurance does not cover.
It was to me the money is well paid. Im having peace of mind, Freitas said. I feel like Im getting better.
Freitas said she started gaining back some weight in June. Her mind has become a bit clearer. Her long-term memory seems back a bit, too. Im getting out of the graveyard, she said.
Said Oppenheimer to his wife: What Im seeing is youre better relative to the beginning of , because youre still not good.
For Freitas, the struggle for recognition and relief from her symptoms continues. She and her husband remodeled their home over the summer, refurbishing their two-story house with a plan to rent out one level to pay for Freitas ongoing treatments.
And she still holds out a little flame of hope of one day becoming a doctor just like her dad.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Untreated Lyme Disease
Seek medical attention if you observe any of these symptoms and have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.
Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.
The appearance of the erythema migrans rash can vary widely.
- Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of rash
- Erythema migrans rash :
- Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
- Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days
- Expands gradually over several days reaching up to 12 inches or more across
- May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
- Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or bulls-eye appearance
- May appear on any area of the body
- Does not always appear as a classic erythema migrans rash
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat
- Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
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Testing For Lyme Disease
About a month after the initial infection, blood tests may be administered to check for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Still, Dr. Friedstrom stresses, the diagnosis remains controversial and heres the reason: We dont have great blood tests for it and we have to use a blood test to diagnose it We have to rely on immune tests tests that detect antibodies.
These tests do not detect the presence of the disease itself, but test to determine whether the individuals body has developed antibodies to fight the bacteria associated with the disease.
Another issue with blood tests is that they could draw false positive or false negative results, and therefore should not be used to diagnose Lyme disease in individuals who do not have obvious symptoms or other reasons to believe they have been infected with Lyme.
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Is This Test Right For Me
This test may be right for you if:
- You spent time in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent
- You have been in outdoor areas where ticks live
- You are experiencing symptoms such as rash, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes
If you are experiencing heart or neurologic symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention.
This test may not be right for you if:
- The tick bite occurred within the past 2 to 3 weeks
- You are not experiencing symptoms
Are There Lyme Disease Home Remedies
Health departments in areas with high rates of infection have undertaken campaigns to raise public awareness and educate the public on facts about Lyme disease.
- It is known that certain outdoor areas are highly infested with deer ticks and should be avoided if possible these include woods and brush areas.
- Generally, the tick counts on suburban lawns are much lower.
Lyme disease should never be treated with home remedies alone. Antibiotics are needed to cure the illness, however, some home remedies may help ease symptoms as you recover. Consult a doctor before taking an herbal supplement or natural remedy as they may interact with medications you already take or may cause unwanted side effects.
- Doctors will treat primary or early Lyme disease with oral antibiotics, including doxycycline , cefuroxime , penicillins, amoxicillin , or erythromycin . In early stages, the disease can be curable with just this antibiotic treatment.
- Pregnant women are usually treated with penicillins or erythromycin. Doxycycline is generally avoided as it may affect the development of the fetus.
- Doctors may treat late-stage cases of neurological, heart, or arthritic Lyme disease with intravenous antibiotics in the hospital or as an outpatient.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be recommended to help relieve pain and inflammation.
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What Symptoms Should I Expect
All doctors will tell you the primary symptoms of Lyme disease, especially in the early stage. They will mention headaches, flu-like symptoms, stiff neck, swollen lymph nodes, swelling and pain in the joints, and the red bullseye rash. A Lyme disease doctor will tell you not everyone gets a rash after being bitten by an infected tick.
They can also tell you less common Lyme disease symptoms, like facial paralysis, depression, anxiety, nervous system problems like slowing of the gastric system, or memory loss. Lyme disease doctors will know the symptoms to expect in all three stages of the disease.
Timing Of Testingwindow Period
As with all serologic tests, clinicians must consider the timing of a patients illness when ordering and interpreting Lyme disease tests . Serologic analysis has low sensitivity during the first few weeks of infection while the antibody response is still developing . This period is known as the window period and is common to all serologic tests. Patients with illnesses suspicious for early Lyme disease but lacking typical EM can present a diagnostic dilemma because serologic test results might be negative at this point . In these cases, treatment can be administered at the discretion of the clinician, but serologic analysis is necessary to confirm the diagnosis .
Clinical approach to diagnosis of early Lyme disease, United States. *See Figure 1. Given the gradual geographic expansion of Lyme disease, testing may be warranted for patients with signs and symptoms of Lyme disease who were exposed in areas that border known disease-endemic regions. For a more detailed discussion of symptoms as they relate to pretest probability, see section on exposure and pretest probability. Â§For recommended 2-tiered testing protocol, see Figure 2. STARI, Southern tickassociated rash illness EM, erythema migrans.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
If you feel sick after having spent time in areas where ticks might live, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
If you received a Lyme disease diagnosis and you dont feel well after taking all of your antibiotics, contact your provider. This is especially true if you have symptoms like a stiff neck or mental confusion.
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Cdc Supports The Development Of New Tests
New tests may be developed as alternatives to one or both steps of the two-step process. Before CDC will recommend new tests, they must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration . For more details, see: Recommendations for Test Performance and Interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease.
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How Do You Treat Lyme Disease
Every doctors first response to how Lyme disease is treated will focus on the use of antibiotics. When diagnosed early, antibiotics can eliminate Lyme disease in some people. Unfortunately, a large group of people is not given relief after a round or two of antibiotics. Their Lyme disease progresses from acute to chronic, and the symptoms make it hard to complete daily responsibilities.
A Lyme disease doctor will have multiple advanced treatments, with and without antibiotics, available in their office or clinic. Advanced treatments include intravenous antibiotic therapy, therapeutic apheresis for blood and plasma, biofilm eradication, hyperthermia, IV vitamin infusions, antioxidant protocols, oxidative stress reduction protocols, supplements, and much more.
Key Questions To Ask Your Lyme Disease Doctor
If you have Lyme disease or think you may have it, you need to know everything about the disorder. Lyme disease is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can affect how you function personally, professionally, and socially. It can limit your physical and mental health.
Knowledge is power, and the more you know about Lyme disease, the better you can overcome it.
You may know that seeking treatment from general practitioners for Lyme disease can sometimes be frustrating. They are limited on time, and to no fault of their own, they may not know have the latest, most advanced, information on the disease.
Below are nine key questions to ask your Lyme disease doctor, along with the correct answers you should receive.
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Final Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Our regular pediatrician wasnt working in the office that morning, so her colleague saw us. My son already had his shirt off when she walked into the exam room. She took one look at him and said yup. Thats lyme disease. She had another doctor give a second opinion, and my son was immediately put on antibiotics. She administered a lyme disease test just in case, but we werent taking any chances. Lyme disease treatment was started immediately.
Needless to say, we no longer go to our regular pediatrician. As the doctor, it was her job to rule out the possibility of lyme disease in my children given the fact that we live in Maryland. What the heck do I know?! I didnt get a medical degree.
My husband also had lyme disease we soon found out. Two of my men, one of whom wasnt even in New Hampshire, were obviously hit with tick bites in our Maryland neighborhood.
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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Exposure And Pretest Probability
When determining whether to test for Lyme disease, clinicians must consider a patients pretest probability . Even highly specific tests can show false-positive results when performed for patients with low pretest probability.
The most crucial factor governing pretest probability for Lyme disease is exposure history. A recent retrospective cohort study by Lantos et al. reported a positive predictive value for Lyme disease serologic analysis in the Duke University hospital system in North Carolina of only 10% for patients with no history of recent travel to a disease-endemic region . In addition, only 0.7% of patients without recent travel history who had potential signs of disseminated infection were ultimately given a diagnosis of Lyme disease, which indicated that even clinical signs consistent with Lyme disease have poor predictive value in low-incidence regions. Furthermore, even EM-like lesionsonce considered pathognomonic for Lyme diseasecan be caused by other conditions, such as Southern tick-associated rash illness, a tickborne illness found primarily in the southeastern United States for which an infectious etiology has not been identified .
How To Check For Lyme Disease
Last reviewed: Medically reviewed
Canadian singer Justin Bieber recently revealed that he has Lyme disease a tick-borne infection that can take months or years to resolve, even after treatment.
Bieber is the latest celebrity to raise awareness of the infection, which affects thousands of people in the US every year .
Its not always easy to tell if you have Lyme disease because the symptoms resemble those of many other conditions. However, this article should help you better understand the condition and how to reduce your risk of developing it.
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How Can I Tell If Treatment Is Working
If joint lameness is the presenting sign, improvement may be noted after 3-5 days starting antibiotics. A dog’s response to therapy can be assessed by repeating the QC6 test six months after treatment is complete. Dogs that start with a moderate to high QC6 value typically show a 50% reduction or more in the QC6 at six months, indicating that treatment has been successful. Dogs that have a lower initial QC6 value may not show such dramatic reductions in the QC6 at six months, although the value should still be lower than the starting point if treatment has been successful.
A persistently high QC6 suggests treatment may not have been complete or that the dog became reinfected after treatment was stopped.
Is There A Lyme Disease Test Kit
Blood collection kits are available for at-home Lyme disease testing. Lyme disease test kits can cost as less as $20 and as much as $100 or more. Using a Lyme disease test kit is as simple as pricking your finger and smearing or collecting the blood onto the kit for testing.
However, testing for Lyme disease in a more controlled environment such as a lab or clinic is preferable as qualified healthcare professionals are likely to perform a more reliable test.
Waddell L. A., et al. . The accuracy of diagnostic tests for Lyme disease in humans, a systematic review and meta-analysis of North American research. PLoS One. 2016 11: e0168613. Retrieved from
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How Do They Test For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is best tested using two different blood testing methods. These are:
- The Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay test: In a nutshell, this test will look for signs that your body is trying to fight off Lyme disease by producing antibodies. However, the ELISA test may come back negative even when a person is infected by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. False-negatives can occur during the early stages of the disease, where the infected persons body has not produced enough antibodies to fight off the B. burgdorferi bacteria. For this reason, reliable diagnosis is not usually based only on the ELISA test results.
- Western Blot test: Heres a simple way to explain the western blot test without getting into all the nitty-gritty details of what it does and how it does it. Put simply, it separates the blood proteins and detects antibodies to the bacteria causing the Lyme disease. Usually, when an ELISA test comes back positive, a western blot test is performed to confirm the diagnosis.
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What Is The Treatment Process For Lyme Disease
Treatment begins with an extensive evaluation provided by your Lyme disease doctor. A complete assessment will be taken, including your medical, family, psychological, and physiological histories, to ensure the diagnosis is correct and that treatment will not be affected by any other conditions.
Your doctor may then order lab tests to analyze your blood. Once your doctor has reviewed all evidence, you will work together to create a treatment plan by discussing all procedures that will benefit you the most. Then treatment begins.
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When A Lyme Diagnosis Is Tricky
There are several reasons it can be hard to diagnose Lyme disease.
Tests are less accurate for a short period of time after you first become infected. Thats because Lyme tests look for proteins created by your immune system to help you fight off infection , rather than for the infection itself, and it can take a few weeks for your body to make enough antibodies to cause a positive test.
The only sure sign of Lyme disease is an erythema migrans rash, which often has a bullseye shape. But up to 30% of people who get Lyme disease never get a rash. It is also possible that a person may not notice a rash before it goes away.
Symptoms of Lyme disease like fever and body aches can also be caused by other illnesses. This may result in Lyme diagnoses being missed because symptoms are attributed to another illness.
Using todays tests, it is difficult to distinguish between an old Lyme disease infection and a new one.
Thats why Lyme disease cases may be missed, and as many as 40% of Lyme disease cases are not diagnosed until a later stage of the disease. By that time, Lyme disease is harder to treat, and long-term complications are more likely, so an early, accurate diagnosis is very important.