How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
An EM rash is a sure sign of Lyme disease, so your doctor can diagnose and treat you without the need for laboratory tests.
An EM rash, often shaped like a bullseye , is a sure sign of Lyme disease. If you develop an EM rash, you should be diagnosed & treated for Lyme disease without the need for further lab tests. EM rashes are not as obvious on darker skin .
For all other cases, your doctor should consider whether your symptoms and risk factors point to a Lyme disease diagnosis. For example:
Were you bitten by a tick?
Did you spend time outdoors in an area where Lyme disease is common?
Recent travel: Lyme disease may be common where you were, even if it is unusual where you live.
Your current symptoms and how long have they been present.
Your full medical history, including previous unexplained symptoms that may help lead to an accurate diagnosis whether that ends up being Lyme or another condition.
How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
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.
Don’t Miss: When Do Puppies Get Lyme Vaccine
Need Doctors Who Treat Lyme Disease Learn About Our Protocol
If youre skeptical about our program, thats okay. Many first time patients have lived through multiple failed treatment attempts. We encourage everyone who suffers from Lyme disease and the loved ones of Lyme disease sufferers to watch our video testimonials and engage in personal research online. Most of the literature on this complex disease describes symptoms and epidemiology, but fails to provide concrete information about proper wellness protocols. Lyme disease affects many different systems of the body, which makes addressing it completely a complex goal. At Lyme Laser Centers, we have founded a program for many sufferers. Trust Lyme disease doctors to help you on your way to overcoming this serious disease.
Whether youre an individual looking for answers or a health care professional searching for a better offering, remember our North Andover location. For more information about doctors who treat Lyme disease, call our office at 725-5963.
Rgcc Sot Clinics And Regulation
I suspect the FDA will eventually shut down centers providing Lyme SOT that is not FDA approved. My interpretation of FDA regulation suggests SOT oligonucleotides qualify as a drug. Drugs are subject to FDA regulation the FDA only allows for the sale and use of approved drugs. Lyme SOT provided by RGCC is not an FDA approved drug. For more information read the FDA guidance.
Recommended Reading: Epstein Barr Virus And Lyme Disease
Also Check: Early Signs Of Lyme Disease In Humans
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 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.
Ideally, the CDC recommends standard two-tier testing to confirm the veracity of the Lyme disease test accuracy. Together, the ELISA and western blot tests are 99.9% accurate.
Read Also: How Do You Know If A Tick Has Lyme Disease
First Its Important To Understand How A Doctor Should Test For Lyme Disease
Standard Lyme disease lab testing uses a two-tier system to analyze your blood for antibodies, which is recommended by the CDC. First, you take an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testalso known as enzyme immunoassays which aims to detect Immunoglobulin G and Immunoglobulin M in your blood, or antibodies that your immune system produces in response to the bacteria that cause Lyme, the Borrelia species.2
If you test positive for IgG and IgM antibodies, then the CDC also recommends taking a Western blot test. This test looks for bands, which are barcode-like lines of proteins in the blood that signify IgG and IgM antibodies.3 Alternatively, you may take another ELISA test to confirm the results of the first test.
Some at-home Lyme disease test manufacturers claim to use a similar process to laboratory tests. Others may test urine samples or tissue from your cheeks, which are not recommended testing methods for the identification of Lyme disease antibodies, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Does The Time Of Year Matter In The Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
Since Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection, the seasonality of the disease is linked tightly to the life cycle and behavior of ticks. May, June, July, and early August are the biggest risk months for acquiring first stage Lyme disease in the US. This is the feeding time for nymph and adolescent ticks which are difficult to see. A viral-like illness in those early summer months might be Lyme disease. There is also some transmission of Lyme disease via adult ticks in the fall and winter and throughout the year anytime the temperature is above 40 degrees, but to a lesser degree.
The risk of acute Lyme disease is more of a year-round risk in more temperate regions such as northern California and the pacific northwest. Later stage Lyme disease, however, can manifest at any time.
Also Check: Chances Of Getting Lyme Disease From A Tick
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.
What Is The Most Accurate Test For Lyme Disease
There are several types of tests available for diagnosing Lyme disease. One of them, the blood test, looks for antibodies to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. It is not completely accurate, but it can help in the diagnosis process. Blood tests for Lyme disease are often ordered by a doctor if you have certain symptoms that are consistent with the disease.
The first type of test is the ELISA test, which measures antibodies against the Lyme bacteria. This test is highly sensitive, but it has low specificity. It is usually followed by a second test, called a Western blot. You can choose an ELISA test that measures IgM antibodies only or a combined test using both IgM and IgG antibodies.
ELISA tests can also be ordered online. These tests measure antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is the cause of Lyme disease. However, they may give false results, especially during the early stages of the disease, as the body does not produce enough antibodies to fight off the bacteria.
Also Check: Lyme Disease Bullseye Rash Pictures
Figuring Out Your Exposure
So When Do You Need Blood Tests For Lyme Disease
In some cases, you can have Lyme disease without the rash. Or you may not see the rash before it goes away on its own.
In these cases, your doctor should ask you about your medical history and do a thorough physical exam. Your doctor should look for these signs that you might have Lyme disease:
- You were in an area with ticks and Lyme disease.
- You also have fever or redness, warmth, and swelling in one or a few joints at a time usually the knees, shoulders, or wrists.
Other symptoms can occur later on. Talk to your doctor about testing and treatment choices.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Don’t Miss: Dog Lyme Disease Symptoms Six Indicators
Why Do Doctors Not Treat Lyme Disease
Without laboratory findings, however, most doctors are uncomfortable with diagnosis and treatment of chronic Lyme disease. This may be because Lyme disease symptoms can be mistaken for those of other illnesses, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and depression.
Then What are the 3 stages of Lyme disease? There are three stages of Lyme disease.
- Stage 1 is called early localized Lyme disease. The bacteria have not yet spread throughout the body.
- Stage 2 is called early disseminated Lyme disease. The bacteria have begun to spread throughout the body.
- Stage 3 is called late disseminated Lyme disease.
Furthermore, What celebrities have had Lyme disease?
Here are a few examples of stars with Lyme disease.
- Avril Lavigne. Canadian singing sensation Avril Lavigne has been battling Lyme disease since 2014.
- Yolanda, Anwar & Bella Hadid.
Does Lyme disease lower life expectancy? The researchers concluded, Only pre-existing comorbidities, and not Lyme disease stage or severity, were predicative of having lower QOL scores and long-term symptoms. Take away message: In the long run, Lyme does not affect your life as much as other health conditions.
Dont Miss: Antibiotics For Lyme Disease In Humans
Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.
The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in thehighly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.
If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.
Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.Am J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.
There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.
Don’t Miss: How Do I Tell If My Dog Has Lyme Disease
Current Research On New Approaches
NIAID actively supports research on Lyme disease diagnostics. Small businesses and public/private partnerships often submit applications for new research projects. NIAID grantees also work directly with CDC scientists to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of currently used diagnostic methods.
Working with CDC, NIAID plays a major role in encouraging the development of new approaches to improve Lyme disease diagnosis in people with tick-borne co-infections such as anaplasmosis or babesiosis. New diagnostic tests are also needed to distinguish between people with B. burgdorferi infection and those whose immune responses stemming solely from past Lyme disease vaccination. Although Lyme disease vaccines for humans are no longer available in the United States, the discontinued LYMErix vaccine used between 1998 and 2002 was based on a specific part of B. burgdorferi called outer surface protein A . In response to the vaccines, immunized individuals developed antibodies for OspA. Because the conventional ELISA measures OspA antibodies to determine if someone has Lyme disease, the test does not provide accurate results for immunized individuals. People who received the vaccination will test positive whether or not they are actually infected with B. burgdorferi.
NIAID is supporting research on a variety of approaches to improve the diagnosis of Lyme disease:
British Columbia Specific Information
Ticks are tiny bugs which feed on blood. For information on ticks, removing ticks, and how to avoid being bitten, see HealthLinkBC File #01 Tick Bites and Disease. You may also be interested in the HealthLinkBC File #96 Insect Repellent and DEET.
While most tick bites do not result in diseases, some can. Some of the diseases passed on by ticks include relapsing fever, tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever , Q Fever and anaplasmosis. The most well-known is Lyme disease. For more information on Lyme Disease, visit BC Centre for Disease Control – Lyme Disease .
Recommended Reading: Oxygen Therapy For Lyme Disease
The Elisa And Western Blot Are Not Sensitive Enough
Another major limiting factor of the traditional ELISA and Western blot is the quality. These tests tend to use lysed BB cultures, and therefore, depending on the culture conditions, some antigens are over-expressed, and some are under-expressed. This, in turn, can affect the ability to detect antibodies from patients blood.
Whats more, if a patient tests too early after a tick bite, his or her body may not have produced enough antibodies to show up on a test with suboptimal sensitivity.