What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Tick bites are usually painless and most people do not know they have been bitten. Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary greatly from person to person, and may appear anywhere between 3 to 30 days after a person has been bitten.
Symptoms often include:
- Swollen lymph nodes.
One sign of infection can be an expanding rash, sometimes referred to as a âbullâs eyeâ rash because it may have rings spreading from the bite site ). It is important to note that rashes without the bullâs eye may occur, and that rashes do not appear in every case of Lyme disease infection.
The PHAC states that if left untreated, more severe symptoms may occur and can last from months to years. Severe symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches
- Nervous system disorders, including facial paralysis or Bellâs palsy .
- Intermittent muscle, joint, tendon, and bone aches
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and less commonly in other joints such as the ankle, elbow, and wrists.
If untreated, a condition called late disseminated Lyme disease may occur. PHAC reports symptoms include recurring arthritis , nervous system and/or neurological problems. Symptoms can also include numbness and/or paralysis . Deaths from Lyme disease are rare but may occur.
PHAC provides more information on Lyme Disease.
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The Role Of Lyme Disease Tests
The purpose of the most common type of Lyme disease testing is to determine whether you have developed antibodies as a result of past exposure to the Borrelia bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Antibodies are proteins created by the immune system that target specific threats like bacteria and viruses.
Blood testing alone cannot determine whether you have Lyme disease. Instead, testing can provide helpful information that your doctor can consider along with other factors, such as any symptoms youve had and whether youve been exposed to ticks that can carry Borrelia, to determine if a diagnosis of Lyme disease is appropriate.
Beyond blood testing, it is possible to analyze fluid from the central nervous system for signs of the Borrelia bacteria.
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Current Problems With Lyme Disease Diagnosis & Patient Care
- Diagnostic tests cannot yet accurately identify the earliest stage of Lyme disease when making the diagnosis is crucial.
- The rash is not always present or easily recognized
- Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can make Lyme disease more difficult to treat and lead to prolonged and debilitating illness
- Early symptoms can be mistaken for a summer flu
- Lyme disease can involve several parts of the body, including joints, connective tissue, heart, brain, and nerves, and produce different symptoms at different times.
- Antibody testing done after early treatment may be negative and never turn positive for some cases
- Borrelia burgdorferi can evade our protective immune system and trigger immune system dysfunction.
- No reliable blood test is presently available to measure treatment success, necessitating close clinical follow up and improved physician education.
- Presently there is no vaccine to prevent Lyme disease available to humans.
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Molecular Testing For Detection Of Borrelia Species Bacterial Dna
PCR is available for Borrelia species DNA detection but is of limited value in routine testing for Lyme disease because the organism is only present in blood during the early stages of the disease and is predominantly restricted to the affected tissues.
Diagnostic molecular testing for Borrelia species DNA is available on request for relevant specimen types. Please call RIPL to discuss individual cases.
Scientists Find Promising New Treatment For Lyme Disease
A new study gives hope that an effective treatment for Lyme disease may be available in the future. The new treatment involves the drugs cefotaxime and azlocillin.
The new paper appears in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
Lyme disease affects nearly 300,000 people a year in the United States and around 230,000 people a year in Europe, according to an article in the Journal of Public Health .
Bacteria belonging to the group Borrelia burgdorferi cause Lyme disease. Most people develop it after being bitten by a tick that carries the bacteria.
Approximately 6080% of people with Lyme disease develop a circular red skin rash called erythema migrans around the infected tick bite, and some also develop flu-like symptoms.
Most people develop the rash within 4 weeks of being bitten, but it can appear up to 3 months afterward.
of people with the disease later develop symptoms of fatigue, pain in their muscles, joints or nerves, and cognitive impairment.
These symptoms can continue for months or even years after their initial infection.
Researchers have suggested that this may because of drug-tolerant persisters, a group of bacterial cells that survive the initial dose of antibiotics.
Others believe its an immune disorder caused by bacteria during the first exposure, which causes a perpetual inflammation condition. Whatever the cause, the pain for patients is still very real.
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What Do The Results Mean
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are common to many conditions, and test results alone can’t diagnose the disease. To make a diagnosis, your provider will consider your test results along with your medical history, exposure, and symptoms. You may also need other tests.
A negative blood test result means that antibodies to fight the Lyme disease bacteria were not found in your blood. If you had symptoms for longer than 30 days before your test, you probably don’t have Lyme disease.
But if you had symptoms for less than 30 days before you gave your blood sample, you may need to have another Lyme disease test. That’s because it may take a few weeks for your body to make enough antibodies to show up on a test. If your test was done too soon, you could be infected even though your test was negative. This is called a “false negative.”
A positive blood test result means that antibodies to fight the Lyme disease bacteria were found in your blood. In this case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a second blood test on the same blood sample. If the second test is positive and you have symptoms of infection, you probably have Lyme disease.
But positive test results don’t always mean that Lyme disease is causing your symptoms. You could have antibodies from a past case of Lyme disease that your body successfully fought off months or even years ago.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
Alternative & Holistic Treatment For Lyme Disease:
Alternative and holistic treatment for Lyme disease may include any of the natural treatment protocols and therapies as listed above. As mentioned previously, the conventional way of treating Acute or Early-Stage Lyme Disease is through antibiotics. However, some people cant use pharmaceutical antibiotics, chose not to use antibiotics or find them ineffective.
Herbs for lyme disease treatment include herbal antimicrobials such as teasel root and cats claw which have long been used in Chinese Medicine for their multiple health benefits. Teasel root is often used as an antimicrobial to strengthen kidney and liver function and cats claw has powerful ant-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The Cowden Herbal Protocol and Buhner Protocol use medicinal herbs to treat Lyme disease holistically.
Homeopathic treatment for Lyme disease include Hypericum Perforatum which is used in the treatment of nerve pain, depression and as a natural antibiotic, and Arsenicum Album which is often used in treating digestive disorders including mucosal inflammation.
For further information on Alternative, Holistic and the Natural Treatment of Lyme Disease, please read our page HERE: https://www.lymediseaseadvice.com/natural-treatment-for-lyme-disease/
Dietary and nutritional changes are also effective in the treatment of Lyme disease and we have prepared a Lyme Disease Diet to get you stared HERE:
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Lyme Disease Treatment: 2 Herbal Compounds May Beat Antibiotics
Lyme disease transmitted via tick bite affects thousands of people in the United States and around the world. Currently, doctors use antibiotics to treat it, but could plant-based remedies be more effective?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi .
The disease spreads to humans through the bite of a tick that carries the bacterium, and it affects an estimated each year in the U.S. alone.
Currently, healthcare professionals choose between three antibiotics in the treatment of Lyme disease. These are doxycycline, cefuroxime, and amoxicillin.
Sometimes, however, antibiotics are not effective in eradicating all traces of B. burgdorferi from the system, which means that the disease can persist.
When this happens, bacterial cells that have developed antibiotic resistance can continue to proliferate. These are known as persister cells .
Because of this, researchers have been looking into alternative modes of fighting the bacterium, and their first line of inquiry has focused on natural remedies.
In 2018, an in vitro study suggested that 10 plant-derived essential oils could help fight off B. burgdorferi.
Now, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, and from the California Center for Functional Medicine and Focus Health in Berkeley, have conducted a new study that has led them to believe that two specific plants may lead to more effective therapies against Lyme disease.
When A Lyme Diagnosis Is Simple
A person who notices a tick bite and gets a bullseye rash will typically get a Lyme disease diagnosis. Treatment can start right away without any testing.
Another straightforward example would be a person who has spent time outdoors in an area where Lyme disease is common. Lets say that person doesnt have a bullseye rash but has other possible symptoms of Lyme disease. Their doctor does a standard two-step blood test, and both are positive. In this case the person gets a Lyme disease diagnosis and starts treatment.
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What Is The Difference Between This Indirect Blood Diagnostic Test And A Direct Test
Direct diagnostic tests measure the presence of the bacteria directly and are much more reliable than tests looking for indirect measurement of antibodies that measure a persons immune response to an infection. Lyme disease diagnoses and disease management would benefit from validated diagnostic tests that directly measure the infection such as a culture, PCR test, or antigen detection tests. Direct tests are vital to the management of other infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C, strep, and COVID-19, but have not yet become widely available for Lyme disease.
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Completion Of Lyme Disease Test Request Form
Diagnostic samples must be submitted with a completed RIPLLyme disease test request form . Please use a single request form for each patient even when sending several samples.
Please provide details of the sample type, patients symptoms and onset date, tick bite or exposure history and, if relevant, travel and treatment history. Symptom onset date is particularly important for interpretation of laboratory results.
When sending CSF, please provide the cell count and total albumin, IgG and IgM levels for the CSF and serum pair, if available.
Ideally the clinician who sees the patient should print out and complete the appropriate request form . Send the request to the local laboratory with the clinical sample along with a local laboratory request form, whether this is paper or electronic.
The local laboratory should complete the senders information on the request form and then forward the completed form and sample to RIPL. Before sending samples, clinicians are advised to liaise with their local laboratory because local arrangements may vary.
If only immunoblot confirmation is required because the local laboratory has already obtained a positive Lyme screening test result on the serum sample being submitted, tick the Line blot confirmation only box and write the positive screening test result below.
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What Is The Best Antibiotic For Lyme Disease
The best anitbiotic for Lyme disease is Doxycycline. Doxycycline was the first to be found, and it works on both ticks and Lymecycline in ring form. Doxycycline combined with amoxicillin has proved to provide an even better results. The only downside of doxycyclines is that people under age 35 have higher chances of developing acne. And while others are being studied, so far there has not been a magic bullet against the bacterial family of Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease after an incubation period ranging from 3 days to months before any associated symptoms are experienced . It can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks for antibiotics or other treatments to kill all of the bacteria.
Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to treat infections such as Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, acne , rosacea, chlamydia , and others.
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Possible Complications To Watch For With Lyme Disease
Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dogs condition.
- Some dogs who take antibiotics can develop loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Once infected, a dog will always have the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in his or her body. Therefore, relapses are possible, and owners should be on the lookout for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/or lameness.
- A small percentage of dogs develop kidney failure as a result of Lyme disease. Clinical signs include vomiting, weight loss, poor appetite, lethargy, increased thirst and urination, and abnormal accumulations of fluid within the body.
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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
How old you are
Lyme disease in the earliest stage is usually treated with antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks.
Treatment will also be considered based on these and other factors:
If you are bitten by a tick that tests positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease
If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms
If you are bitten by a tick and are pregnant
If you are bitten by a tick and live in a high-risk area
How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
In areas where ticks are found, people should know about the risk of Lyme disease and should take precautions to protect themselves. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease so it can be detected and treated promptly. PHAC states that removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours after the tick bite usually prevents infection.
PHAC has also prepared a Lyme disease tool kit which provides material to raise awareness and educate.
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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.
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.
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Other Canine Diseases Carried By Ticks
Ticks can also carry several other less common but serious bacterial diseases affecting dogs, including anaplasmosis and babesiosis.
Anaplasmosis can involve symptoms similar to those for Lyme disease. Babesiosis can present with a wide range of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressing infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases includes blood tests similar to those used to check for Lyme disease.
Sometimes, dogs and people can become sick with co-infection of multiple tick-borne diseases, where more than one type of disease-causing bacteria is transmitted through a tick bite. This situation can make diagnosis and treatment even more challenging and difficult.
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How Will Pregnancy Affect Treatment For Lyme Disease
Early treatment of Lyme disease during pregnancy is important. Thats because if Lyme disease is untreated, it can affect the placenta. According to the CDC , the transmission of Lyme disease from mother to fetus is possible, though rare.
For pregnant people, treatment includes a round of antibiotics. Certain treatments for Lyme disease may not be used, as they can affect the fetus. If you suspect that you have Lyme disease, talk with a healthcare professional immediately.
Racial Differences In Incidence
Lyme disease is reported primarily in whites, although it occurs in individuals of all races. No genetic explanation is known for this the disparity most likely stems from social or environmental factors and possibly to the fact that erythema migrans is more difficult to diagnose in dark-skinned individuals.
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