How Can You Find Out If You Have Lyme Disease
If you suspect you have Lyme disease, the best way to get a more accurate diagnosis is to see a Lyme Disease specialist. Dr. Robin Ridinger is a board-certified family physician and integrative holistic medicine provider in Virginia. She has more than 25 years of experience as a family medicine doctor, and she is associated with the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society. She specializes in treating Lyme disease and other common co-infections, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid issues, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, adrenal fatigue, and more. She uses a holistic approach in addressing these conditions and creates customized, evidence-based plans for her patients which aim to attack the root cause of their symptoms, rather than just eliminating the symptoms themselves.
She can help figure out if Lyme disease is contributing to your fibromyalgia by conducting a thorough evaluation. This likely starts with, but does not end with, the typical lab tests used to diagnose early Lyme disease. A spinal tap or MRI can also help detect signs of Borrelia burgdorferi.
Dr. Ridinger will also deep dive into your symptoms and medical history. Some common symptoms of the infection include:
· Fever or chills
Knowing The Symptoms To Look For Can Help Diagnose Lyme Disease Early On When It’s Easily Treatable
Fever or fatigue, with or without a rash, can be a symptom of many thingsand Lyme disease is just one possibility. To diagnose Lyme, doctors say they have to consider symptoms and circumstances. If youve been hanging out in wooded or grassy areas, especially in certain regions of the country during the spring, summer, or even autumn months, it might make sense to entertain the possibility that you were bitten by a tick. And whats the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in America? Its Lyme disease, by far.
But Timothy P. Flanagan, MD, associate professor of medicine in the infectious diseases division at Brown Universitys Alpert Medical School, says it would be a mistake to latch on to a Lyme diagnosis without ruling out other possible causes, including other infections transmitted by ticks. You could have a different tick-borne infection entirely, such as anaplasmosis or babesiosis, or you could have Lyme with one or more co-infections. Thats because the same ticks that transmit Borrelia can carry other disease-causing microbes, too.
Its super important that we think of all the tick-borne diseasesnot just Lyme, Dr. Flanagan tells Health. Babesia, a parasite that causes babesiosis, is treated differently than Borrelia, for example.
How To Prevent Lyme Disease
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites, explains Dr. Kaufman, and there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, especially if you live in or are going to be visiting an area where ticks are prevalent.
Some of Dr. Kaufmans recommended strategies include:
- If youre hiking, choose your trail wisely. The ticks that cause Lyme disease live in moist and humid environments, especially in wooded or grassy areas, so its best to avoid walking through thick brush and other vegetation, notes Dr. Kaufman. Aim to walk in the middle of the trail, where youre less likely to rub up against bushes.
- Wear clothing that covers the skin. Long sleeves and pants can help reduce the likelihood of Lyme disease.
- Invest in Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents to repel ticks. You can spray these on your skin and clothing. According to the CDC, these products typically contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone.
- Conduct daily tick checks on yourself, your family members and your pets. People should be thorough about tick checks, and pay extra attention to certain areas of the body, like under the arms, in and around the ears and in and around all head and body hair, notes Dr. Kaufman.
Read Also: Lyme Disease Treatment In Children
Eat To Nourish Your Body And Mind
The weight fluctuations triggered by chronic Lyme disease lead many people to seek out weight loss crash diets and other restrictive forms of eating, in the hopes that these strategies will produce weight loss. I highly advise against doing these diets, as they will deprive your body of the nutrients you need to heal and trigger additional physiological stress. Instead, I recommend eating a nutrient-dense diet based on whole, real foods. Customizing your diet to fit your unique needs can provide additional support for your recovery process and may help you return to a healthy weight.
Disclaimer: f you choose to click on any of the links in this article and subsequently purchase a recommended product from Amazon, I will receive a very small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This commission helps support my blogging efforts so I can keep bringing you helpful, free health and nutrition information!
Are you dealing with Lyme disease and stubborn weight gain? Do you need help with Lyme disease weight loss? Consider working with me! I am currently accepting new clients in my clinical nutrition practice. If youre interested in diving deep into improving your health by working one-on-one with me, reach out to me here to schedule your discovery call. The discovery call will allow us to meet and talk together to decide if my nutrition services are the right fit for your needs. I look forward to connecting with you!
How Are Lyme Disease And Fibromyalgia Connected
Many people assume getting a diagnosis for fibromyalgia and being put on a treatment plan is the beginning of the end to their painful symptoms, so it can be frustrating when traditional medications, such as Cymbalta, Savella, or Lyrica dont provide relief. However, the symptoms of Lyme disease and fibromyalgia are very similar. It is also possible for people to be diagnosed with both Lyme disease and fibromyalgia at the same time.
Lyme disease is currently the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. While it was previously estimated by the CDC that less than 300,000 people get Lyme disease each year, this number has more recently risen to 476,000 people being diagnosed and treated for the condition.
A doctor who understands both Lyme disease and fibromyalgia can make a more accurate diagnosis and identify which factors are likely contributing to your symptoms. Even if you have seen other medical professionals in the past, making an appointment with someone who specializes in Lyme disease allows you to backtrack and see if any more obvious signs have been overlooked.
While both conditions can be chronic, a customized, comprehensive treatment plan can help address symptoms of both Lyme disease and fibromyalgia. An integrative approach is often the best for patients with chronic conditions as it considers all aspects of ones health and uses various evidence-based treatments to achieve better overall wellness.
Read Also: Where To Test Ticks For Lyme Disease
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Symptoms can start anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite. They may look different depending on the stage of your infection. In some cases, you wonât notice any symptoms until months after the bite.
Early symptoms include:
Without treatment, symptoms can get worse. They might include:
- Severe headache or neck stiffness
- Rashes on other areas of your body
- Arthritis with joint pain and swelling, particularly in your knees
- âDroopingâ on one or both sides of your face
- Inflammation in your brain and spinal cord
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet
What does the rash look like?
Some Lyme rashes look like a bull’s-eye with circles around the middle. But most are round, red, and at least 2 inches across.
The rash slowly gets bigger over several days. It can grow to about 12 inches across. It may feel warm to the touch, but itâs usually not itchy or painful. It can show up on any part of your body.
How small are ticks?
Ticks come in three sizes, depending on their life stage. They can be the size of a grain of sand, a poppy seed, or an apple seed.
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Recommended Reading: Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In My Dog
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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
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 itâs hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they don’t dry out. This means people donât 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.
Whoâs likeliest to get Lyme disease?
Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thatâs because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.
Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?
There are several reasons why Lyme is spreading. Some of these are:
Read Also: Best Herbs For Lyme Disease
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