What You Should Know About Lyme Disease
If the symptoms of Lyme disease persist and there is no known cause for them, then consulting with a Lyme literate doctor may provide treatment progress. Many health insurance plans will not cover these consultations or tests, however, so proceed with caution.
For those who are treated with antibiotics, a condition called PTLD occurs that mimics the symptoms of the disease for up to 6 months.
In regions where Lyme disease is not prevalent, it is usually up to the patient to insist on receiving the Lyme disease blood test. Use this guide to speak with your doctor about your concerns and discuss what the results may mean for your health.
My Child Had Lyme Disease Got Treated And Is Now Depressed Could This Be A Sign Of A Relapse
Depression is a word that encompasses physical, cognitive, and emotional components. The physical would be poor sleep, fatigue, low energy, lack of sex drive. The cognitive would include poor concentration and trouble making decisions. The emotional would include feeling guilty, hopeless, suicidal, and being unable to enjoy life in any aspect. Chronic symptoms triggered by Lyme disease are most often associated with insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue, headaches, pain, and, not uncommonly, problems with cognition as well. In other words, chronic Lyme symptoms are most often associated with the physical and cognitive parts of the depressive picture and less often with the emotionally despairing part. When a person presents with the emotional part that is sustained for at least 2 weeks, it may be that a full syndrome depression has emerged related to the Lyme disease or that it is a concurrent but unrelated illness. The emotional aspects of depression might occur secondarily to being sick with a physical illness or directly from an infection affecting the brain or from chemicals affecting the brain that were released by infection outside of the brain. When a person has Lyme encephalitis , the emotional part of depression can be very dramatic. The person might be suddenly tearful for no apparent reason, have very poor frustration tolerance, become paranoid or angered at the least provocation, and appear to have a personality change.
What Do I Do If I Find A Tick On My Skin
Dont panic. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible. Pull up with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick body. Sometimes parts of the tick remain in the skin. You can leave them alone or carefully remove them the same way you would a splinter. Do not use heat , petroleum jelly, or other methods to try to make the tick back out on its own. These methods are not effective.
Wash the area where the tick was attached thoroughly with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area for a few weeks and note any changes. Call your doctor if you develop a rash around the area where the tick was attached. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened.
You May Like: How Long To Get Lyme Disease Test Results
The Blood Tests Can Have False Positives
The blood tests can trigger false positives, suggesting that you have the disease when you really dont. This can happen in up to one out of four tests.
This can lead to unnecessary treatment with antibiotics. These drugs are usually safe, but they sometimes cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. In rare cases, they can even cause dangerous allergic reactions.
Using too many antibiotics can also lead to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. This means that bacteria in your body may get stronger and more difficult to treat with antibiotics in the future.
A false positive can also lead to more unneeded blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, and doctor visits.
If you have a false positive, you may not get treated for the real cause of your pain. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes joint pain. It can lead to permanent and severe joint damage if you do not start taking the right medicines as early as possible.
What Is Late Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is caused by an infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is disseminated through tick bites. Infected ticks usually bite small mammals, who do not develop any kind of infection from the bacteria. When humans are exposed to B. Burgdorferi from a tick bite, however, they can develop Lyme disease.
People who work outside or spend time in woodland areas, where there is greater potential for exposure to tick bites, are most at risk of infection.
Lyme disease is a condition which progresses in stages:
You May Like: Essex Savings Bank Old Lyme
How Do I Know If I Am Getting Tested Correctly For Lyme Disease
So we have already established that it is difficult to detect the presence of Lyme disease. But, thankfully, techniques and private testing have been developed to circumvent these complexities .
One technique is PCR which looks at Lyme antigens and the organisms DNA.
While PCR can be effective for detecting Lyme disease, knowing how to give this test is also important. In order to get a good reading, your lymph system needs to be moving. To increase lymphatic movement, here at Neurvana Health, we may use infrared sauna, exercise, or simply therapeutic ultrasound on various areas of the body where we think the infection may be present. To detect its presence, we can review your symptoms and where you experience pain. So we may look at memory problems and use ultrasound on the temporal, upper cervical regions and down the spinal cord. We may also use it on the joints, gallbladder or spleen.
What does the ultrasound do? Well, the infections have what we call Velcro proteins that allow them to attach to connective tissue. So the ultrasound breaks these proteins and the organisms get dispersed into the circulation where we can detect them. We can detect their DNA in blood or urine.
Early Lyme Disease Treatment
ILADS doctors are likely to recommend more aggressive and longer antibiotic treatment for patients. They may, for instance, treat high risk tick bites where the tick came from an endemic area, was attached a long time, and was removed improperly. They may treat a Lyme rash for a longer period of time than the IDSA recommends, to ensure that the disease does not progress. They are unlikely to withhold treatment pending laboratory test results.
You May Like: How Long After A Tick Bite Lyme Disease
The Right Testing And Care = The Road To Recovery
So we talked about some of the complexities around detecting Lyme and its co-infections and also why some of the current testing is flawed. We also talked about a solution to testing that could detect Lyme in chronic cases. All of this comes down to finding a Calgary Lyme disease doctor who understands Lymes complexities and can provide you with private testing that is based on more current research.
When you see a provider, you want to test for multiple infections including:
With proper lab testing, we can detect 15 confirmed infections that cause disease. We dont currently know all of the infections but the main thing to remember is to get lyme disease testing beyond just Borrelia burgdorferi.
TIP: If you have been tested for Lyme disease before and it came back negative but you have a sneaky suspicion that the test wasnt accurate , you may want to get re-tested.
Healthsymptoms Of Lyme Disease: Why The Disease Is So Hard To Diagnose
Those folks will often have a prolonged fever that doesn’t seem to be connected with a head cold or stomach bug, Norris noted. They may also suffer from aching muscles.
If you’re planning on spending any time outside this summer, it’s important to keep in mind the major signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
To learn more, watch the above video with NBC medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar.
Read Also: Lyme Disease Blood Test Cost
How Lyme Disease Is Diagnosed
Your doctor or other healthcare provider may have difficulty diagnosing Lyme disease because many of its symptoms are similar to those of other disorders and illnesses. The only distinctive sign unique to Lyme disease is absent in at least a quarter of the people who become infected. Although a tick bite is an important clue for diagnosis, many people can’t recall having been recently bitten by a tick. This isn’t surprising because the deer tick is tiny, and a tick bite is usually painless.
How Are Dogs Tested For Lyme Disease
Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.
The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called C6. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness.
The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary.
Recommended Reading: What Do I Do If My Dog Has Lyme Disease
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.
The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.
The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. It’s not usually hot or itchy.
The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.
Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- tiredness and loss of energy
Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later.
This is more likely if treatment is delayed.
These more severe symptoms may include:
- pain and swelling in joints
- nerve problems such as pain or numbness
- heart problems
- trouble with memory or concentration
Late Or Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment
Experts agree that the earlier you are treated the better, since early treatment is often successful. Unfortunately, a substantial portion of patients treated with short-term antibiotics continue to have significant symptoms. The quality of life of patients with chronic Lyme disease is similar to that of patients with congestive heart failure. Doctors dont agree about the cause of these ongoing symptoms. The primary cause of this debate is flawed diagnostic testing. There is currently no test that can determine whether a patient has active infection or whether the infection has been eradicated by treatment.
The IDSA thinks Lyme disease symptoms after treatment represent a possibly autoimmune, post-Lyme syndrome that is not responsive to antibiotics. The IDSA essentially regards Lyme disease as an acute infection like strep throat that can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. The IDSA guidelines are now eight years old and do not reflect recent science.
ILADS physicians believe that ongoing symptoms probably reflect active infection, which should be treated until the symptoms have resolved. These physicians use treatment approaches employed for persistent infections like tuberculosis, including a combination of drugs and longer treatment durations. The ILADS guidelines have just recently been updated using a rigorous review of the medical literature.
Recommended Reading: Can Lyme Disease Make Your Liver Enzymes Off
What Criteria Do Doctors Use To Choose Different Antibiotics
Partly, doctors rely on what medicines have been shown in published studies to be effective for Lyme disease. For neurologic Lyme disease, the best tested antibiotic is IV ceftriaxone . For early Lyme disease, the best tested antibiotics include oral doxycycline, cefuroxime and amoxacillin. Physicians however often use other antibiotics well. For example, because one mouse study and several in vitro studies indicate that the agent of Lyme disease can penetrate and lodge inside cells, some doctors prefer to use medications that have good intracellular penetration ). Other factors that go into the decision include whether the patient is allergic to a particular family of antibiotics or whether the patient can tolerate oral medications intolerance might suggest the use of intramuscular penicillin whereas if a person is allergic to penicillins or cephalosporins a doctor would want to avoid long-acting intramuscular penicillin-family medicines.
To our knowledge, having had a Lyme disease infection that has been treated does not have a negative impact on the ability to become pregnant.
Symptoms Of Early Stage Lyme Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , early-stage Lyme disease symptoms crop up within 3 to 30 days after exposure and can include but are not limited to:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans , a bulls-eye-shaped rash that appears at the site of the tick bite
Early Lyme disease does not always appear the same in all patients. For example, up to 30% of patients dont remember experiencing a bulls eye rash.
Also Check: My Dog Tested Positive For Lyme
Can Autism Be Misdiagnosed As Lyme Disease What Research Is There To Prove This Can A Child With Autism Be Successfully Treated For Lyme Disease
It would be extremely unusual to misdiagnose a child with autism as having Lyme disease. Lyme disease typically gets diagnosed when a child has joint and muscle pains, along with fatigue, positive blood tests, and central or peripheral nervous system involvement. Certainly a child with autism may also get Lyme disease and thus have two disorders. In that situation, treatment of Lyme disease should result in a resolution of the Lyme disease but it would not likely result in a change in the autism symptoms. The question of interest to us is whether there are cases of “regressive autism” that occur in older pre-school age children for example that has been induced by a central nervous system infection, such as with Borrelia burgdorferi. In such a situation, treatment with antibiotics may well result in an improvement in the developmental regression. This area however has not been adequately studied.
What Abnormal Results Mean
A positive ELISA result is abnormal. This means antibodies were seen in your blood sample. But, this does not confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease. A positive ELISA result must be followed up with a Western blot test. Only a positive Western blot test can confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
For many people, the ELISA test remains positive, even after they have been treated for Lyme disease and no longer have symptoms.
A positive ELISA test may also occur with certain diseases not related to Lyme disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Read Also: What Are The Effects Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Early Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The early symptoms of Lyme disease are usually experienced from three to thirty days after the initial tick bite and may include:
- Rash: The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a rash, also known as erythema migrans . This rash develops in up to 70-80% of Lyme disease infections and may appear on any part of the body. The tell-tale signs of EM is a bullseye-like appearance that expands gradually over the course of seven days, growing up to 12 inches in diameter. Fevers and Chills: Flu-like symptoms, such as a low-grade fever, chills and headaches can accompany Lyme disease. However, unlike the flu, these symptoms can continue to persist and periodically return.
- Fatigue: Lyme disease commonly causes an extreme lack of energy and exhaustion, and at times be debilitating if severe enough. This feeling of tiredness can come and go for days, weeks or even months.
- Muscle and Joint Aching: This pain may be difficult to pinpoint, as muscle and joint pain can be displaced from day-to-day. If you experience the bullseye-like rash, it is often accompanied by body aches and pains.
- Cardiac Issues: Although this is a rare symptom of Lyme disease, which occurs in approximately 8% of adults, it is important to note because it is one of the few symptoms that can become deadly if left untreated. Lyme disease can create inflammation in the heart and cause an atrioventricular block that can slow down your heart rate and cause a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness.