Do I Need To See An Infectious Disease Specialist To Get Tested For Lyme Disease
An experienced and knowledgeable practitioner like Dr. Kenneth Bock dedicates himself to the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of Lyme disease. Dr. Bock has over 35 years of experience diagnosing and treating Lyme disease in adults and children. He and his experienced team of medical professionals at Bock Integrative Medicine have a thorough understanding of Lyme diseases complexity and take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases
The Pitfalls Of The Lyme Disease Diagnosis Process
There is a plethora of issues when it comes to accurately diagnosing a patient with Lyme disease. Firstly, Lyme disease testing is not always accurate. If there is an overreliance on test results in the diagnosis process, patients may be told they dont have Lyme disease. If their test result was a false negativewhich unfortunately is not uncommonthis puts them in a very difficult situation. They will likely travel down a path of remaining misdiagnosed or undiagnosed as their health continues to spiral out of controlI say this from personal experience.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of an undiagnosed patient with bizarre and progressing symptomsif you are told by a certified medical professional that you dont have Lyme disease, you are likely going to overlook or ignore any further information about Lyme. You may dismiss the potential of Lyme disease altogether and continue to be bounced around from doctor to doctor in hopes to receive an accurate diagnosis or effective treatment. Worse yet, you may spend a lot of time and financial resources trying to find answers, all to no avail. Not to mention youll likely experience a decreased quality of life. By no means am I arguing here that every doctor who tells a patient they dont have Lyme disease is wrong, but an over-reliance on test results in the diagnosis process can be detrimental to a patients health journey.
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If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, and have been unsuccessful in finding effective treatment or lasting relief, Dr. Heyman treats patients at his integrative medicine practice: the Virginia Center for Health and Wellness in Aldie, Virginia. For an appointment with Dr. Heyman, please call & phone , or contact us online today.
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State And Local Lyme Organizations And Nonprofits
If youre unable to find an LLMD through a national organization, consider doing a web search for a state or local Lyme organization or nonprofit. Some keywords that may generate helpful, search results for you include:
- The name of your state
- Lyme disease
For example, typing in Minnesota Lyme disease nonprofit yields the Minnesota Lyme Association , where you can then browse their website for ways to locate a physician or fill out the contact form for more help. These days, most states have some sort of site to distribute information to inquiring patients.
How To Approach Your Non
For various reasons, you may choose to consult with a doctor who doesnt specialize in Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases.
If so, be sure to be as proactive as possible in providing information that could help in diagnosing your disease, and always feel free to share resources that you find in your own research to prompt discussions about any aspect of your diagnosis or treatment, including more advanced testing options.
If your doctor does not believe Lyme disease exists, reach out to another doctor for a second opinion.
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Treatment Starts With Accurate Diagnosis
The only way to get the proper treatment for your tick-borne disease is to get the right diagnosis in the first place and one of the best ways to do that is, if possible, to see a physician whos experienced with tick-borne diseases. Accurate diagnosis also requires high quality testing at a reputable lab. Learn more about why doctors and patients trust the tests offered by IGeneX.
How To Find Lyme
People often ask Christina what to do if they find a tick on them. Among the advice she gives them, the most important piece is this: find Lyme-literate doctors.
You need to find a Lyme-literate doctor immediately. Theres no reason why you cant reach out to an infectious disease doctor immediately, she says. She notes that sometimes its difficult to get an appointment with an infectious disease doctor however, because many of them are in the midst of research on Lyme, sometimes theyre eager to see patients with tick bites to help with testing and studies.
She also says that getting the wellness side involved early on is important. That might mean alternative treatments like acupuncture, herbs, and supplements, all of which Christina used to heal. It may also mean taking more preventative measures, such as lifestyle choices that help bolster your immune system.
Even if youre working with a conventional doctor, Christina recommends having an honest conversation with them about how open they are to alternative and complementary treatments. She says that working with a doctor who was open to an integrative approach was essential to her recovery.
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How To Find A Lyme
I began my search for a knowledgeable doctor almost a decade ago. At that time, it was next to impossible to locate a physician that had in-depth training in Lyme disease and ME/CFS. I believed there were healthcare providers out there that could treat patients with the range of symptoms I was experiencing, but finding them was another story.
Fast forward to today.
Although finding a the right doctor for your needs can still feel like your trying to work your way through a maze, its much easier to gather information about healthcare providers. In my latest post for Healthgrades, I provide tips on How to Find a Lyme-Literate Medical Doctor. Click here to read the article.
Finding a doctor can be a daunting task. But dont give up hopethey are out there and they can help you on the road to feeling better.
A Good Lyme Literate Doctor Will Enhance The Patient Experience
Like in any area of medicine, there will inevitably be bad or ineffective Lyme Literate doctors. Just because a physician is Lyme literate does not automatically make them a good Lyme doctorthere are many other factors outside of Lyme literacy that can make or break your experience with a Lyme disease specialist. Yet the good doctors who are Lyme literate can make a world of difference when it comes to an individual patients experience with tick-borne diseases.
Not only can Lyme literate physicians pay a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne illnesses, a good Lyme literate doctorin my opinionwill have a better understanding of the Lyme patient experience. Because of their knowledge and extensive experience with tick-borne infections, they may be more open-minded, considerate, and sensitive to the many experiences and challenges involved in living with Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses.
This is a subjective opinion, but it is one I believe important to add to this piece. The experience of living with and managing Lyme diseaseespecially chronic Lyme diseaseis so unique. Unless youve personally experienced it, it is difficult to appreciate the challenges and demands it entails. Not to say that a non-Lyme literate doctor cant provide a positive patient experience, but I believe that most Lyme literate doctors have the experience and exposure needed to be attuned to the specific care Lyme disease patients often require.
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Resources To Find A Lyme Literate Doctor
Now, this wouldnt be a very helpful article if I didnt include resources on how to find a Lyme literate doctor, now would it? Like I said before, it can be tricky to pin down Lyme specialists, so here are a few resources to start your search for a Lyme literate physician.
International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society: Provider Search
Global Lyme Alliance: Find a Lyme Literate Health Care Provider
It goes without saying that these resources are a starting point. If I learned anything from my attempts to find a good doctor, it is the importance of doing your due diligence.
Before committing financial resources, do what you can to conduct a background check on the prospective Lyme specialist. Review their websitehow do they talk about Lyme disease, health, and patient experience? Get a sense of their mentality and approach to medicinedoes it align with what you feel you need out of a doctor? What experience do they have with tick-borne illnesses? What methods of treatment do they use? Most importantly, research patient reviews and look out for any red flags. If possible, sign up for an introductory consultation to see if that doctor may be a good match.
Can You Ever Be Cured Of Lyme Disease
At Bock Integrative Medicine, weve designed a comprehensive model of individualized care that maximizes the chances for a positive clinical response that can restore your health. We use the most recent breakthroughs in medical science and technology to create an evidence-based treatment regimen highly personalized to your needs, including individualized combination therapy treatments that are supported by research. We prioritize your safety, avoiding the use of medications when possible, and combining them with supplements, herbs, and dietary modification to protect your liver and digestive tract when pharmaceuticals, such as antibiotics, are necessary to treat infections. If you want highly trained, experienced and compassionate medical providers dedicated to determining the root cause of your illness, depend on the tick-borne illness experts at Bock Integrative.
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They Treat Lyme Disease Holistically
Lyme literate physicians approach their patients with a holistic understanding of their health and lifestyle. In their Lyme disease screenings, Lyme literate physicians ask patients if they partake in any activities which make them at greater risk for contracting Lyme such as gardening, hiking, and travelling to remote areas where there are other types of ticks. They also consider whether the patient lives in a Lyme epicenter such as upstate New York or Connecticut. As with conventional doctors, their screening process involves ruling out any other possible conditions.
Lyme literate doctors know how to manage each patients immune system throughout the treatment. They monitor the immune system to see that it responds properly to treatment protocols. Depending on the patients needs, they can prescribe customized pharmaceutical and herbal treatments. In this way Lyme disease specialists help patients to adjust to medical interventions at their own pace. This approach to chronic Lyme treatment is only possible with a Lyme literate doctor.
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Disclaimer: The above material is provided for information purposes only. The material is not nor should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor does it necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of Global Lyme Alliance, Inc. or any of its directors, officers, advisors or volunteers. Advice on the testing, treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patients medical history. Global Lyme Alliance, Inc. makes no warranties of any kind regarding this Website, including as to the accuracy, completeness, currency or reliability of any information contained herein, and all such warranties are expressly disclaimed.
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How To Work With A Doctor Whos Not Lyme Literate
Though the prevalence of Lyme disease is rapidly growing, it remains a lesser known and widely misunderstood disease compared to more commonly seen conditions like cancer and heart disease. So it makes sense that it might take certain circumstances to pave the way for a medical professional to take an interest in treating Lyme disease, especially when symptoms move from being an acute infection to a chronic illness.
In many such cases, doctors who have expertise in Lyme known as Lyme-literate medical doctors have a personal history with the illness, have seen family members or friends try to navigate the complexities of tick-borne infections, or have a medical practice in endemic areas. Typically, you can find an LLMD through online support groups, websites like the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society , or via word-of-mouth referrals.
Take, for example, Dr. Bill Rawls, Medical Director of RawlsMD. He had a busy practice in obstetrics and gynecology, and his hectic schedule wreaked havoc on his sleep, eating habits, and stress levels. In his late 40s, he began experiencing persistent flu-like symptoms, and for a long time, neither he nor other physicians were able to pinpoint a cause.
After all, with incidences of Lyme on the rise, your doctor is likely to come in contact with more people whove contracted the illness, so working with you as a patient could benefit others like you in the future.
Need Help Finding A Doctor
To Find a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor you can use the following resources:
We also recommend searching for LLMD doctor referrals through online Lyme disease support groups. Connecting with other patients and getting referrals is a wonderful way to find a doctor. In talking with fellow patients and folks walking a similar path of Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment, you will get to know more specifics about your particular doctor, so that you can understand how to best work with him or her. Patient referrals for holistic practitioners are also available through online groups.
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What Is A Lyme Literate Doctor
Dr. Abigail Dumes addresses the question: What is a Lyme literate doctor? in a recent issue of Medical Anthropology. She explains the disagreement in medicine between doctors over the symptoms of “chronic Lyme disease.” One group described as “mainstream doctors” consider the symptoms to be due to a medically unexplained illness. While the other faction, known as “Lyme literate doctors” considers the symptoms to be sufficient evidence for a medical explanation.
In the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines, Wormser and colleagues initially dismissed Lyme disease symptoms as nothing more than the aches and pains of daily living. A Lyme literate doctor would disagree.
That conclusion, however, has been undermined by findings from clinical trials, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health , which report patients with Lyme disease suffer from severe symptoms, poor quality of life, and a loss of function.
Additionally, other studies indicate patients diagnosed with Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome exhibit ongoing pain, impaired cognitive function, severe fatigue, and poor function.
Although they may not agree on the cause, both groups of doctors are beginning to recognize that these patients, whatever they are labeled, continue to suffer from chronic illnesses.
Lyme literate doctors have reached the same conclusion. For purposes of transparency, I have been viewed as a Lyme literate doctor.
Addressing The Issues Surrounding Lyme Diseasethe Role Of Lyme Literate Doctors
The combination of issues related to Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment can present obstacles for patientswhether they are living with undiagnosed or properly diagnosed tick-borne infections. As someone who has experienced these obstacles first-hand, I can attest to how detrimental they can be on a patients health and quality of life. I was one of the many people whose disease was initially missed due to inaccurate testing and a lack of understanding and awareness of the issues related to Lyme disease. It wasnt until I was seen by a Lyme literate doctor that the three tick-borne infections that were wreaking havoc on my body were identified. Because Lyme literate doctors arein theoryaware of the misconceptions and controversies discussed above, they can be more able to effectively diagnose and treat tick-borne illnesses.
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Who Is The Best Doctor For Lyme Disease
At Bock Integrative, one of the few practices in the U.S. that focuses on integrative pediatric Lyme disease, Dr. Kenneth Bock and his team go beyond the conventional one-size-fits-all treatment approach. For over three decades, Kenneth A. Bock, M.D. has successfully cared for patients with multi-symptom, multisystem medical problems, including tick-borne illnesses. Jennifer Petkos has trained with Dr. Bock and has acquired comprehensive experience caring for children and adults with difficult-to-diagnose tick-borne disorders, including neuropsychiatric Lyme disease. The Bock Integrative team considers symptoms, physical findings, and laboratory results in designing and implementing an individualized comprehensive Lyme disease treatment protocol that maximizes the chances for a positive clinical response that can restore your childs health. Their inclusive diagnostic approach is in line with the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society . The compassionate Lyme disease experts at Bock Integrative understand how frustrating it can be when you or your child face chronic, often debilitating symptoms and have been unable to obtain a clear diagnosis or treatment plan. The Bock Integrative team is committed to helping alleviate that anxiety and frustration, taking the time to listen to your story to discover essential pieces of information that could help uncover the root cause of your illness
Living With Lyme Disease Woman Works To Raise Awareness About The Illness
Emmalynn Walvoord, diagnosed a few years ago with Lyme disease, is now fighting to raise awareness about the illness in the state of Nebraska.
Im doing much better, she said. Its been really good.
Walvoord, 21, said her life changed when she was diagnosed with the disease, which doctors say doesnt exist in the state.
is caused by a bacteria transmitted to people through the bite of a tick, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
With the spring season underway and floodwaters still standing in some areas, experts say we could see an uptick in ticks.
Things werent great for Walvoord last year when we first met her. She was always exhausted, she had chest pains, trouble swallowing and memory loss. [
Treatment wasn’t easy or accessible because as infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Rupp said: Lyme disease isn’t in Nebraska
We just really haven’t seen that, he said. We do need to be cognizant and aware. Public health does do studies of what ticks are in our area, and we just haven’t really seen Lyme disease become of concern.
Walvoord wasn’t a patient at Nebraska Medicine her treatment and doctor are hours away, in Minnesota.
Her magnesium levels have plummeted since her diagnosis, and shes hit a road block when it comes to getting her magnesium infusions.
I still can’t find a doctor in Nebraska to sign off to help with Lyme disease symptoms, Walvoord said. We are working on it.
Examine gear and pets.
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