Tuesday, May 24, 2022

How To Get Diagnosed With Lyme Disease

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The Igenex Lyme Immunoblot Solves These Problems

Diagnosing and treating Lyme disease

IGeneX has developed a serological test that increases specificity without sacrificing sensitivity that has changed how to test for Lyme disease. It uses specifically created recombinant proteins from multiple species and strains of Lyme borreliae and reduces inconsistencies in reading and interpreting the test bands.

More species detected The Lyme ImmunoBlot tests for more species of Lyme borreliae than the traditional ELISA and Western blot tests, reducing the risks of false negatives due to the inability to detect antibodies to a certain strain or species of Lb. The test includes all Borrelia-specific antigens relevant in North America and Europe, not just B. burgdorferi B31 or 297.

The result is a single test that replaces at least 8 Western blots.

More accurate testing The ImmunoBlot uses specific recombinant proteins that are sprayed in precise amounts onto specific locations on the membrane strip, allowing for greater control of the quantity and location of the antigens. This makes reading the bands much more accurate and consistent.

Earlier detection The ImmunoBlot can detect infections at multiple stages of illness, letting you catch infections earlier.

The IgM and IgG ImmunoBlots superior specificity and sensitivity make them the best Lyme disease test available.

What Do Testing Kits Typically Include

Depending on the method of collection, testing kits may include:

  • a device to collect the blood, urine, or saliva sample
  • instructions
  • a container to ship the sample back to the lab
  • a shipping label

Some kits come with a bandage, wipes, and a biohazard bag. Kits may contain extras such as Styrofoam holders, labels, or tubes with varying solutions inside.

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

People with Lyme disease may react to it differently, and the symptoms can vary in severity.

Although Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated symptoms can overlap. Some people will also present in a later stage of disease without having symptoms of earlier disease.

These are some of the more common symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • a flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval or bulls-eye anywhere on your body
  • other flu-like symptoms

These symptoms may occur soon after the infection, or months or years later.

Your child may have Lyme disease and not have the bulls-eye rash. According to an early study, results showed roughly 89 percent of children had a rash.

Lyme disease is best treated in the early stages. Treatment for early localized disease is a simple 10- to 14-day course of oral antibiotics to eliminate the infection.

Medications used to treat Lyme disease include:

  • doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime, which are first-line treatments in adults and children
  • cefuroxime and amoxicillin, which are used to treat women who are nursing or breastfeeding

Intravenous antibiotics are used for some forms of Lyme disease, including those with cardiac or central nervous system involvement.

After improvement and to finish the course of treatment, healthcare providers will typically switch to an oral regimen. The complete course of treatment usually takes 1428 days.

Recommended Reading: How Do You Feel When You Have Lyme Disease

Can You Get Lyme Disease From Other People Or Animals

Theres no evidence that Lyme disease can be transmitted sexually or by touching or kissing a person who has it, says Dr. Kuritzkes. One widely reported study from 2014 found that the bacterium that transmits Lyme disease could be present in semen and vaginal secretions, which sparked fears that the disease could be passed between sexual partners. But theres never been a reported case of sexual transmission, says Dr. Kuritzkes, and most experts dont believe you can catch Lyme disease in this way.

In rare cases, Lyme disease has been transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus or placenta. Fortunately, according to the CDC, treating an infected woman with antibiotics seems to protect the fetus from any negative effects. Theres also no evidence that Lyme disease can be passed through breastfeeding.

And while there have been no reports of Lyme disease being transmitted through a blood transfusion, scientists say it could potentially happenso people who are being treated for Lyme disease should not donate blood.

Dogs are less likely to be bitten by deer and western blacklegged ticks, although it does happenso its still important to check your pets after time spent outdoors and to remove any ticks you find. You can also talk to your veterinarian about preventive treatments that can reduce the risk of your pets being bitten by ticks or about a vaccine that can protect dogs from the disease.

The Best Test For Lyme Disease

Natural Strategies to Overcome Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness spread by Lyme borreliaebacteria which includes, but is not limited to, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are 400,000 cases of Lyme disease annually, making Lyme a serious public health concern that only stands to grow as the spread of ticks affects disease endemicity and seasonality.

One of the biggest challenges of fighting Lyme disease is providing patients with accurate diagnostic tests. Without access to the best tests for Lyme disease, its impossible to diagnose this treatable disease in a timely manner. When the disease isnt caught in time, it can spread throughout the body and cause chronic health problems that could otherwise be avoided with earlier detection and treatment.

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What If Your Lyme Disease Test Is Positive

Its important to note that a positive result doesnt mean you have a diagnosis of Lyme disease. The tests will show that antibodies are present in your blood, but a physician will need to order another type of test before you get an official diagnosis.

If someone gets a positive at-home test, definitely see your doctor, says Dr. Puja Uppal, a board certified family medicine physician and the chief medical officer at Think Healthy.

A physician will likely order both an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a Western blot test, which check for antibodies specific to Borrelia burgdorferi. They will consider the results of both these tests, along with your symptoms, to make an accurate diagnosis.

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Her ordeal is a common one every year, some 300,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number is on the rise. Some people wait months or years to get a correct Lyme diagnosis. And their cases highlight a problem: Tests for Lyme in the first month of infection are frequently wrong. When diagnosed and treated early the infection is a simple one to get rid of, but left untreated it can cause a myriad of lingering symptoms, from severe arthritis to short-term memory problems.

Now, a number of research groups are working to improve Lyme tests to catch infections in the early stages. One avenue being studied by the CDC aims to create a Lyme signature of small molecules in the blood an approach that, in early testing, catches a dramatically higher share of early infections.

Recommended Reading: How Long Does A Lyme Blood Test Take

How Many People Get Lyme Disease

There is no way of knowing exactly how many people get Lyme disease. A recently released estimate based on insurance records suggests that each year approximately 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease.1,2 This number is likely an over-estimate of actual infections because patients are sometimes treated presumptively in medical practice. Regardless, this number indicates a large burden on the health care system and the need for more effective prevention measures.

Q: CDC previously estimated that ~300,000 people get Lyme disease each year.3,4 Why is this new number different?

Both estimates are based in part on insurance claims data, however the 476,000 estimate uses more recent information covering the years 2010-2018. In addition, there are some differences in the detailed methods used to develop the two estimates. Its important to emphasize that 476,000 is the estimated number of people treated for Lyme disease and likely includes some patients who were not actually infected.

Q: CDC also states that approximately 35,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year. Why is this number so different?

Q: How often does CDC plan to estimate how many people get Lyme disease?

As additional robust sources of data become available, CDC will use them to better understand how Lyme disease affects the American public.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Lyme Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment for People and Pets
  • I found a tick embedded in my skin, but I cant get it out. What should I do?
  • Ive been bitten by a tick. Do I need to be seen?
  • Do I need a blood test to confirm Lyme disease?
  • Which antibiotic is best for me?
  • How long will I have to take the antibiotic?
  • What tick or insect repellent should I use for me or my child?
  • How long will the symptoms last?
  • What should I do if I still dont feel well a long time after I was bitten?

Recommended Reading: How To Treat Chronic Lyme

What If Lyme Disease Goes Untreated

If Lyme disease goes untreated, it can affect other systems in the body. According to the , common symptoms of later stage Lyme disease include:

  • severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • additional erythema migrans rashes on other areas of the body
  • facial palsy, which is a loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face
  • arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly in the knees and other large joints
  • intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
  • episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • nerve pain
  • shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet

How Is Lyme Disease Treated

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. In most cases, people bitten by a tick are given antibiotics only if they are sick or have a rash. If you are bitten by a tick but dont get sick or get a rash, you dont need antibiotics.

Early-stage Lyme disease responds very well to treatment. In most cases, taking an antibiotic for 2 to 4 weeks kills the bacteria and clears up the infection. Your doctor will tell you how long to take the antibiotic. Its important to take all the medicine your doctor prescribes. This will prevent the spread of Lyme disease to your joints, nervous system, or heart. If you have problems with the medicine, do not quit taking it. Call your doctor and talk to him or her about your side effects.

Late-stage Lyme disease is also treated with antibiotics. It may be necessary to give the antibiotics intravenously at this stage. Medicine that reduces swelling and pain can ease arthritis associated with late-stage Lyme disease. If necessary, excess fluid can be drained from any affected joints.

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Why Is It So Hard To Get A Lyme Disease Diagnosis

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that often has vague symptoms doctors brush off or misdiagnose. Here’s why.

Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness that can cause flu-like symptoms and a recognizable bulls-eye rash, can be notoriously difficult to diagnose.

Singer Avril Lavigne, for example, has been very vocal about her struggle with getting a Lyme disease diagnosis. She told Good Morning America in 2015 that she saw many doctors and underwent a battery of tests, but that it wasn’t until she found a Lyme disease specialist that she was given a correct diagnosis.

“I was in Los Angeles, literally, like the worst time in my life and I was seeing, like, every specialist and literally, the top doctors,” Lavigne explained. She said that some of these experts misdiagnosed her symptomsdebilitating pain and fatigueas chronic fatigue syndrome or depression, while others told her she was simply dehydrated or exhausted from touring.

RELATED: To Read More Stories About Misdiagnoses Check Out Our New Series, Misdiagnosed

“This is what they do to a lot of people who have Lyme disease,” she said. “They don’t have an answer for them so they tell them, like, ‘You’re crazy.'”

Lavigne started to suspect she had Lyme disease a few months after she began feeling exhausted and lightheaded. Her symptoms eventually got so bad, she felt like she couldn’t breathe, talk, or move. “I thought I was dying,” she told People.

RELATED: The Lyme Disease Complication You Don’t Know but Should

What Happens At Your Appointment

Feeling Weak Recently? It May Be From a Tick Bite

The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.

2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.

You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.

Also Check: Can You Prevent Lyme Disease After A Tick Bite

How You Get Lyme Disease

If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.

Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.

They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.

Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.

Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.

Early Vs Later Diagnosis

Lyme disease has been diagnosed long enough, and the infectious bacteria that causes it is easy enough to identify, that most patients with early Lyme disease are able to find a healthcare provider who can accurately diagnose it. Even those patients who are originally told by a healthcare provider that their symptoms are all in their head are often able to find another practitioner to help them get the accurate diagnosis.

But in some cases, patients find great difficulty in getting a Lyme disease diagnosis. And that’s because there is a controversy that surrounds such a diagnosis for patients who don’t suffer symptoms until long after they were possibly bitten by a tick. While some people exhibit symptoms, including the classic “bull’s eye” rash, early after a tick bite, it’s possible that symptoms won’t show up for months or years after being infected.

Furthermore, some patients are treated early with antibiotics, but those antibiotics don’t completely destroy the Lyme Borrelia bacteria, or other symptoms occur even when no sign of any lingering infection remains.

“Chronic” Lyme Disease Diagnosis Controversy

Although no one denies that some people treated appropriately for Lyme disease go on to have persistent symptoms, there is a huge controversy over what it’s called, what causes it, and how it’s best treated. It has been called “chronic Lyme disease” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .

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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.

When Not To Take This Lyme Disease Test

Why Is It So Hard to Diagnose Lyme Disease?

Do not take this Lyme disease antibody test if:

  • You are experiencing a round rash after a tick bite, such as the typical bullseye rash associated with early Lyme disease. Seek immediate medical attention instead of taking this test. A round rash could be a sign of Lyme disease, and it’s best to consult a medical professional and receive treatment as soon as possible to help prevent complications associated with the disease.
  • You suspect you might have been infected with Lyme disease bacteria less than 6 weeks ago . The antibodies detected by this test take several weeks to build up in your bloodstream, taking the test before 6 weeks have passed may result in a false negative.
  • You havenât lived in or traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs. Consider discussing any symptoms with your healthcare providerâinstead of taking this testâto help determine if youâve been exposed to a Lyme disease bacterium.
  • Youâve previously received a Lyme disease diagnosis, was treated for the disease, and are still symptomatic. Consider discussing any new or ongoing symptoms with your healthcare provider instead of taking this test.
  • You are currently being treated for Lyme disease infection or taking antibiotic treatment for other infections. Consider discussing any symptoms with your healthcare provider instead of taking this test.

Because interpreting Lyme disease test results can be difficult, weâve designed your test results to be easy to read and understand.

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