Treatment For Other Forms Of Lyme Disease
People with other forms of disseminated Lyme disease may require longer courses of antibiotics or intravenous treatment with antibiotics such as ceftriaxone. For more information about treating other forms of Lyme disease, see:
The National Institutes of Health has funded several studies on the treatment of Lyme disease that show most people recover within a few weeks of completing a course of oral antibiotics when treated soon after symptom onset. In a small percentage of cases, symptoms such as fatigue and myalgia can last for more than 6 months. This condition is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome , although it is also sometimes called chronic Lyme disease. For details on research into chronic Lyme disease and long-term treatment trials sponsored by NIH, visit the visit the National Institutes of Health Lyme Disease web siteexternal icon.
What Is Chronic Lyme Disease Or Post
Chronic Lyme disease is an umbrella term that includes undiagnosed Lyme cases, as well as individuals with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . PTLDS occurs when symptoms of Lyme disease persist for at least six months after treatment.
It’s difficult to say how long symptoms of PTLDS linger because some people may never recover, says Elizabeth Maloney, MD, a Minnesota family practice physician and president of the Partnership for Tick-Borne Diseases. Recent studies haveshownthat people may experience symptoms several years after treatment.
In recent decades, scientists and doctors have hotly debated the legitimacy of chronic Lyme disease due to uncertainty over what’s causing the symptoms a lingering infection or an overactive immune response often leaving patients feeling frustrated and neglected. Therefore, most physicians prefer PTLDS to describe lingering Lyme symptoms, rather than the vague and controversial phrase “chronic Lyme.”
Stage : Changing Skin
In stage 3, few signs of Lyme disease appear on the skin. Most problems occur in the heart and nervous system, and these can be serious.
Where you see signs on your skin: If you were in Europe when bit by a tick, you may see changes to your skin in this late stage. These changes usually appear on a hand or foot. Some people develop this change on both of their hands or feet. It can also occur on a knee, elbow, or elsewhere.
What the skin looks like: The skin begins to swell, and you may notice some redness. These signs are caused by having a bacterial infection for a long time. The affected skin may also feel sore.
In time, the skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form. If you have hair in the area, it tends to fall out. The sweat glands can die, and the skin often becomes so thin that it tears easily. The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitischronical atrophicans.
In stage 3, you may also see tumors on your skin. It is believed that the long-term infection and swelling in the lymph nodes can lead to a cancer known as cutaneous B-cell lymphoma.
Skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form
The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitis chronical atrophicans. Swelling, hardened skin, and deep lines on the foot of someone who has had Lyme disease for years.
When you see signs of changing skin and symptoms: These tend to occur months or years after you are bitten by a tick.
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Cdc Supports The Development Of New Tests
New tests may be developed as alternatives to one or both steps of the two-step process. Before CDC will recommend new tests, they must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration . For more details, see: Recommendations for Test Performance and Interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease Blood Test Results Fully Explained
The Lyme disease blood test is used to discover if someone who has the symptoms of a Borrelia burgdorferi infection actually has the bacteria in their bloodstream. Recent infections are much easier to detect and an IgM and IgG blood test will often be ordered as complimentary information gathering tools. This blood test does not always detect the presence of the disease, so patients that have persistent symptoms after having the test may be re-tested in a few weeks.
If any of these tests come back as positive, then other samples will be used to track the stage of the disease to determine if it has reached the chronic infection stage. At this point, a medical provider will order a Western blot test to confirm the presence of Lyme disease.
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Its Not All In Your Head
The lab results said we want to discuss these results with you in-person. About 18 months ago, my doctor called me into her office.
She told me I had likely had Lyme disease for quite awhile. Likely, because we cant really be sure. Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose, and is controversial.
Im open to the idea that we could be totally wrong. What I do know is that the treatment has been slowly working. Occasionally, theres a burst of clarity: all of the joint pain, fatigue, and brain fog lifts, and the only way I can describe the feeling is normal.
I briefly feel normal in a very unfamiliar way, like that I might actually enjoy the strange and painful activity of jogging, or that I could understand how a person might have the energy to have a day job where they have to go into an office every day.
Then, it subsides, and I feel shitty again: easily tired, its hard to type because my joints are stiff, and my muscles in my neck seize up into knots. But, the overall trend of the how-I-feel graph has been positive.
Treatment is like a game of whac-a-mole. You frantically try different things, then BAM, you hit the right thing and feel great for awhile. Then, something else pops up.
Ive never had a tick bite to my recollection, and I didnt set foot in New England until well after my problems started. I grew up in Nebraska, which isnt exactly known as Lyme country.
Chronic Lyme Dos And Don’ts
Chronic Lyme disease is an ongoing Borrelia burgdorferi infection that can involve any body system or tissue. The infection produces a wide range of symptoms and signs, which can be debilitating for some patients. Common symptoms include severe fatigue, migratory musculoskeletal pain, headaches, and impaired memory. Unfortunately, chronic Lyme disease is complex and often misunderstood, which means that many patients will struggle to obtain the care they need to regain their health. Every patient concerned about Lyme disease and tick-borne illness should know the following.
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Ticked Off: 10 Years Living With Lyme Disease
I don’t know when or where I was bitten by the tick that gave me Lyme disease it could have been during a stroll through a park or even while petting a dog. But I do remember when my symptoms first struck: November 1994. I was 26, with an entry-level job in New York City, straight off the hay wagon from Texas and replete with enough energy to go to the gym after work, play pool until 3 a.m. and roll into the office the next day with a clear head. My illness began like the flu, but when the fever lingered for a month despite two weeks of antibiotics, I found a doctor on my plan who could see me before the weekend.
A specialist in chronic fatigue syndrome, the doctor ran a few tests and then christened me with a CFS diagnosis. In practically the same breath, she pointed to a glossy women’s magazine on her desk and said proudly, “I’m in this month’s issue.” I nodded, impressed. Armed with a vial of pork liver extract that I was to self-inject weekly , I left feeling relieved. There was a name for what had been plaguing me for more than a month, and it wasn’t lethal.
Several weeks later, fatigue became the least of my problems. My muscles began to seize up, a constriction like being on the starting block at a race, waiting for the gun to go off. Worse, I had heart palpitations and dizzy spells several times a week. I was afraid I was having a heart attack, but my doctor assured me the spells were typical of CFS. Was that supposed to make me feel better?
If You Are Infected Can You Be Treated
There is a treatment that is effective in most cases, if you identify an infection early enough. If your doctor thinks you have an active, acute Lyme disease infection, or if a blood test reveals antibodies for the disease, they will likely prescribe an antibiotic.
Most people will get better from that treatment. However, in those where its not diagnosed in time, then it can turn into more unpleasant conditions, Lewis says. It can get into the nervous system and cause neurological symptoms, or get into the joints and cause arthritic symptoms, for example. Antibiotics can also help treat those more severe cases, too.
But, when left unresolved for six months to a year, Lyme disease symptoms can become highly problematic, Lewis says. This can happen when someone has mild symptoms and doesnt realize they have Lyme disease or in about a tenth of cases even after treatment, he says. This is often called chronic Lyme disease, but the medical community usually calls it post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .
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Which Areas Are More Likely To Have It
The tick that causes Lyme disease has been moving from the Northeast and upper Midwest into the Southern and Western U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Cases in California and Florida are on the rise. After a drop between 2017 and 2018, the numbers jumped a little bit in 2019.
But most Lyme cases in 2019 were in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New
ishonestNo.221 – Fine Lines & Wrinkles
Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC, is also a hotspot.
In 2019, Pennsylvania had the most Lyme infections, with 6,763. New York was next, with 2,847 cases.
In the Southern U.S., where its hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they don’t dry out. This means people dont get Lyme from Southern ticks very often because they don’t usually come out to bite.
Even though people only report about 30,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year, there are actually around 476,000 a year. The same tick also can spread other diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus. Those diseases are also on the rise in the U.S.
Whos likeliest to get Lyme disease?
ishonestNo.171 – Pre-Sun Exposure
Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thats because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.
Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?
ishonestNo.163 – Uneven Skin Tone
Who Is At Risk For Lyme Disease
Anyone can get a tick bite. But people who spend lots of time outdoors in wooded, grassy areas are at a higher risk. This includes campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and parks.
Most tick bites happen in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But you can get bitten in the warmer months of early fall, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. And if there is a mild winter, ticks may come out earlier than usual.
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How Common Is Post
Even after receiving the standard Lyme disease antibiotic treatment, about 10% to 20% of patients experience persisting symptoms. In 2016, there were up to 1.5 million PTLDS cases in the US.
Historically, US Lyme cases have been undercounted, says Embers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have traditionally reported annual cases about 45,000 per year between 2005 and 2010 based on physicians’ data.
A 2015 analysis of health insurance records published in Emerging Infectious Diseases estimated around 329,000 annual Lyme diagnoses over the same period. If the CDC is missing a significant number of Lyme cases, they’re likely to overlook the prevalence of PTLDS.
Another factor that obscures PTLDS cases is misdiagnosis. Because the full spectrum of PTLDS symptoms still isn’t fully understood, it is commonly mistaken with other conditions, says Maloney.
Symptoms of PTLDS like fatigue and brain fog are also associated with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, making it easy for doctors to misdiagnose.
“Those labels might be labels of convenience because patients and physicians want to know what’s making someone sick,” Maloney says. “Since there’s so much controversy in Lyme disease, some of these people will just call it fibromyalgia and deal with it that way.”
What To Do When You Get Bit By A Tick
If you get bit by a tick and you have the tick in your possession, get it tested at your local testing facility. The facility will likely test it for Borrelia burgdorferi. We also recommend you get tested as well, even if you are not experiencing symptoms or you did not get a bullseye rash. Nearly half of the people who contract Lyme disease dont even show signs of a bullseye rash.
If you think you may have Lyme disease and you have been dealing with symptoms for months or even years, you are likely disillusioned with your health journey and you need some well-deserved answers. You dont have to accept your symptoms as a life sentence as even the most complex cases can be helped. We have a strong track record of helping our clients get to the root cause of their symptoms so they can get on a lasting road to recovery. If you have questions or you just want to talk to someone about your health journey, we are here for you. Go here to book a 30-minute complimentary call with one of our trained health advisers. Be well!
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Different Labs Can Produce Different Results
When it comes to testing for Lyme disease, the quality of the lab conducting the test can also affect the reliability of the results. Thats because different labs use different protocols and techniques to perform each test. Those with more advanced procedures and capabilities provide higher levels of accuracy and precision across various types of tests.
By improving diagnostic precision, clinicians cannot only more accurately detect Lyme infection but, in some cases, the specific stage of a patients Lyme disease infection.
Lyme Disease Is Remarkably Difficult To Diagnose
The problem with Lyme disease is that the bacteria can create a hard shell around themselves when inactive so that the blood tests are unable to detect them. This is especially true when the disease has reached the chronic stage. The timing of the symptoms is often used by a medical provider to establish a time line to a tick bite or exposure to a high-risk region where the disease is commonly transmitted.
Because the ticks that can spread Lyme disease are often the size of a pinhead, the ticks might not even be notice. A bulls-eye rash at the bite location is a trademark symptom of Lyme disease, but only about half of the people who are infected with the bacteria develop the rash. Once the disease reaches the chronic stage, chronic arthritis, joint pain, and neurological symptoms begin to appear, sometimes several months after the infection.
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Untreated Lyme Disease Frequency
Its difficult to get exact numbers when it comes to Lyme disease, in part because theres only limited accounting of the conditions frequency overall, and its often misdiagnosed or mistaken for other conditions.
Currently, its estimated that 476,000 people develop it in the United States every year, with 81% of the cases clustered in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and mid-Atlantic regions.
A significantbut shrinkingproportion of those with the disease end up progressing without treatment. Current estimates are hard to come by. In 2012, researchers estimated that about 16% of Lyme disease cases present without rashincreasing the chance that the case is missed, overall. From 1.6% to 7% of all infections have no symptoms.
Knowledge and awareness of this disease have grown over the past couple of decades, greatly improving outcomes. This improving prognosis is associated with better care and detection, leading to timelier intervention.
If you live in a hot spot area for black-legged ticks, never hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional if youre feeling sick or have a rash.
What Are The Chances Of Getting Lyme Disease From A Tick Bite
Since the deer tick that transmits Lyme disease typically feeds for > 36 hours before transmission of the spirochete, the risk of acquiring Lyme disease from an observed tick bite, for example, is only 1.2 to 1.4 percent, even in an area where the disease is common.
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Can Someone Who’s Been Treated For Lyme Disease Still Have Post
Physicians usually prescribe Lyme patients with a two to four week course of oral antibiotics. This resolves the majority of cases, says Eugene Shapiro, MD, a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Yale University. However, PTLDS could manifest when antibiotics fail to clear an infection and its related symptoms.
Because traces of the bacteria rapidly disappear from an individual’s blood, testing for residual post-treatment infection is challenging, says Monica Embers, PhD, director of vector-borne disease research at Tulane University’s National Primate Research Center.
When patients face possible post-treatment complications, tests can’t indicate whether these symptoms are driven by Lyme versus something else entirely. According to Embers, current antibody tests are only about 50% to 60% accurate, but they grow more sensitive four or more weeks after the initial infection as people further develop antibodies.
“What’s desperately needed is a diagnostic test that can be used in chronic patients to demonstrate that they have had Lyme disease or continue to have a persistent infection, and we don’t have that right now,” says Embers.