Guidelines For Antibiotic Use
Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme. You can also learn about Dr. Rawls personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.
Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
How To Prevent Tick
High-risk regions for infection include the Atlantic coast from Maine to Virginia, as well as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Lyme disease was once rare in Canada, but has been steadily ratcheting its range northward as a result of climate change.
If you live in an area where Lyme disease is common, some simple steps can minimize the risk of tick bites:
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What To Expect At The Vets Office
If your pet has been diagnosed with uncomplicated Lyme disease, this is what you can expect to happen at your veterinarians office.
- Depending on the type of test used to screen for Lyme disease, a confirmatory test may be necessary.
- Urine protein screening — In general, only dogs who have symptoms of Lyme disease or protein in their urine should be treated with antibiotics.
- Dogs with protein in their urine should have regularly scheduled rechecks to monitor their condition.
So What Stresses Cells
The factors that stress or threaten cells are intimately tied to the fact that we must interact with the surrounding environment to survive. The nutrients, water, and oxygen that cells need to thrive must come from outside the body. This mandatory interaction with the outside environment poses a variety of different risks to cells of the body.
All totaled, there are five categories of factors that can stress cells of the body and lead to chronic illness.
Joint Pain And Swelling
About half of people with untreated Lyme get chronic arthritis. Joint pain and damage most commonly occur in the knee. But Lyme can also affect other joints, like the:
These joints may feel swollen and warm to the touch. Lyme arthritis is more common in older people with Lyme disease.
The Numbers On Chronic Lyme
Because Lyme disease is commonly missed or misdiagnosed, statistics vary on how many Lyme patients go on to experience chronic symptoms. The following research nonetheless paints a basic picture of the problem.
- An estimated 5-20% of patients may have chronic symptoms after getting Lyme disease, according to the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
- The treatment failure rate for chronic Lyme disease patients was estimated at 26-50% in 2004, compared to 16-39% for early Lyme patients, according to Lymedisease.org.
- Up to 15-40% of late-stage Lyme patients develop neurological disorders, which are responsible for many common symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.
Experts dont know for sure why some people experience persistent symptoms, even with treatment. However, some believe the Lyme infection may trigger an auto-immune response that manifests in the chronic symptoms detailed below.
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C Antifungals For Overgrowth:
Do this if you have a yeast screening score of 140 or higher . When you complete treatment, then start yeast prevention antifungals as above. Use the supplement or prescription medicine option, but not both together.
- Herbal Combination. 2 pills 2 times a day. Common herbs found individually or mixed together include: Pau D’arco, caprylic acid, rosemary oil, thyme oil, garlic, and grapefruit seed extract.
Use both of the following together.
- Nystatin 500,000 IU 2 pills 2 times a day, and
- Fluconazole 200 mg 1 time daily for 30 days. Use in combination with nystatin to prevent drug resistance. This combination will take 30 days to get yeast under control.
Some have great difficulty getting rid of intestinal yeast overgrowth. See Kills Yeast: A Brief Guide for more herbal and prescription medicine options.
Study Shows Evidence Of Severe And Lingering Symptoms In Some After Treatment For Lyme Disease
In a study of 61 people treated for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Johns Hopkins researchers conclude that fatigue…
In a study of 61 people treated for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Johns Hopkins researchers conclude that fatigue, pain, insomnia and depression do indeed persist over long periods of time for some people, despite largely normal physical exams and clinical laboratory testing.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is a real disorder that causes severe symptoms in the absence of clinically detectable infection, says John N. Aucott, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
The findings, published in the December issue of Frontiers in Medicine, could spur further investigation into the cause of persistent symptoms, a source of medical controversy. As Lyme disease rates have steadily climbed in the United States since it was first recognized in the mid-1970s, so have reports of a collection of symptoms that patients commonly refer to as chronic Lyme disease. Experts in the field have questioned the validity of this term because of the lack of direct evidence in this group of patients of ongoing infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Other Johns Hopkins researchers who participated in this study include Alison W. Rebman, Ting Yang, Erica A. Mihm, Mark J. Soloski and Cheryl Novak.
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When To Consider Antibiotic Therapy
Last Updated 11/01/16
There is little consensus, however, on antibiotic use for chronic Lyme disease. At present, there are no studies showing benefit from long term use of antibiotic therapy for treatment of Lyme disease and the practice is not condoned by the conventional medical community.
The primary problem is that synthetic antibiotics do not kill only pathogens . Antibiotics kill all bacteria.
The types of microbes associated with Lyme disease are survivors. When full guns are levied at the microbiome , stealth microbes are generally the last ones standing. Normal flora are very susceptible to being killed by antibiotics. The harder and longer target stealth microbes are targeted with potent antibiotics, the higher the possibility that normal flora will get caught in the crossfire.
Destruction of normal flora shifts the balance of the microbiome from friendly microbes to pathogens . Prolonged antibiotic use allows these pathogens to become antibiotic resistant. The total process places undue stress on an already overly stressed immune system.
Indiscriminate use of high potency antibiotics destroys normal flora, allows potential pathogens to flourish, causes yeast overgrowth in the gut, fosters antibiotic resistance, and disrupts immune function.
It is impossible to overcome stealth microbes without a healthy immune system.
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.
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What Is Lyme Disease
Several countries around the world, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, and all 50 states in the US have already reported cases of Lyme. The disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia, and it is spread by ticks. One of the biggest controversies surrounding Lyme is determining whether or not someone has the so-called persistent or chronic Lyme disease. The CDC and most specialists prefer to use a different term, post-treatment Lyme disease .
When Symptoms Boil Up
You can think of it as a pot of water on the stove that starts out over a low simmer. As the simmer increases, minor discomforts start showing up general body aches and joint stiffness bloating, gas, and digestive issues lack of energy and simply not feeling well. Often, these kinds of changes become accepted as part of aging or life in general.
Its not until the pot is fully boiling over that things become noticeably uncomfortable. Sometimes its a specific event that causes the pot to bubble over severe emotional stress, an accident or trauma, an acute viral illness, or even a tick bite. But most often, its a perfect storm of cellular stress factors accumulating over time until a tipping point is reached.
At that point, the immune system can no longer keep a lid on things, and life becomes miserable. I refer to this as Chronic Immune Dysfunction.
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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.
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.
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What You Need To Know About Borrelia
Borrelia is an ancient microbe dating back 15-20 million years, and possibly even longer. Its an extremely adaptable microbe that can infect most anything with blood today, it commonly infects mammals, birds, and even some reptiles.
Infection is imperative for Borrelias survival. To complete its life cycle, it must infect a new host via a tick-bite, reproduce within that host , and then reboard a new tick when the host is bitten again.
That last step reboarding a new tick is crucial. If the host is never bitten by another tick, the microbe reaches a dead end. It cant spread to new hosts. Here are some either key facts you should know about Borrelia:
Complications Of Untreated Lyme Disease
If unchecked, the Lyme disease infection can spread to other bodily systems, causing significant damage. Untreated, complications of this condition can be very severe:
- Arthritis:Prolonged infection with Lyme disease leads to chronic joint inflammation and swelling, usually in the knees . These symptoms tend to arise within two years of infection, with periods of flare-ups and remissions. This arthritis is relatively difficult to manage, though antibiotics and steroids may be attempted.
- Lyme carditis:If the bacteria reach the heart tissues, they can cause inflammation and lead to heart block. The electrical signals being sent between the upper and lower chambers of the heart are interrupted, impairing the coordination of the heartbeat. Though disruptive, this is rarely fatal.
- Lyme neuroborreliosis:Inflammation of multiple nerves, including those in the spine and brain, is the chief characteristic of this condition. This can also affect the meningesthe layer of tissue surrounding the brain and spineleading to meningitis, among other conditions. Antibiotic therapy, if applied promptly, tends to be effective as a treatment.
Even in cases where Lyme disease has progressed, antibiotic regimensespecially drugs like doxycyclineare generally successful in resolving problems.
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How To Prevent Post
While you may not be able to prevent post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, you can take precautions to prevent coming into direct contact with infected ticks. The following practices can reduce your likelihood of getting Lyme disease and developing persistent symptoms.
If a tick bites you, contact your doctor. You should be observed for 30 days for signs of Lyme disease. You should also learn the signs of early Lyme disease and seek prompt treatment if you think youre infected. Early antibiotic intervention may reduce your risk of developing chronic symptoms.
The signs of early Lyme disease can occur from 3 to 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. Look for:
- a red, expanding bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite
Microbes: A Key To Chronic Illness
The vast majority of microbes that inhabit the body are confined to the gut, skin, and body openings. Technically, however, these microbes are outside the tissues of the body. Because all microbes have the potential to consume our cells, the body maintains barriers to keep them out. The primary barriers include:
- Mucous membranes lining the mouth and nasal passages
- Bronchial passageways in the lungs
- Linings of the stomach and intestinal tract
In other words, even though our microbes are part of us, they are kept apart from the cells that make up our tissues because of the potential to do us harm. Of course, certain microbes have a higher potential to cause harm than others.
The microbes with the lowest potential for harm are defined as normal flora. Normal flora are microbes that your immune system knows better than any others its a relationship that has been honed over millions of years. Because the immune system is able to keep these microbes completely in check, the partnership is mutually beneficial.
We depend on our normal flora to keep other, more aggressive microbes in the gut and on the skin suppressed. Intestinal and skin diseases result when the balance of normal flora is disrupted by poor diet, chronic stress, or antibiotic therapy.
A microbe that can do us harm is called a pathogen. The potential of a pathogen to do harm is more about the relationship our immune system has with a particular microbe than the microbe itself.
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Treatment Approach To Chronic Lyme Disease
What is the approach for a patient who presents with persistent symptoms of Lyme disease ? First, the Lyme Western blot should be repeated, and coinfection testing should be performed by a laboratory that is proficient in tickborne disease analysis. At the same time, other medical problems that could cause persistent symptoms should be ruled out. Measurement of the CD57 natural killer cell level, which is an immunologic marker that can be used to monitor treatment in chronic Lyme disease, should be performed . If neurologic symptoms are severe, a single-photon emission CT SPECT brain scan should be obtained, to see how much inflammation is present in the brain. Neuropsychiatric evaluation may also be helpful .
On the basis of these results, coinfections should be treated first, if any are present, and then oral or parenteral antibiotics should be used to treat symptoms of persistent Lyme disease. Antibiotic therapy should be administered in a rotating and open-ended manner, in conjunction with probiotics, to minimize adverse effects . Monitoring of clinical symptoms, CD57 natural killer cell levels, and markers of inflammation should be performed in conjunction with treatment .
Precedents for prolonged antibiotic therapy.
Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian
If your dog has a positive Lyme test but no symptoms of the disease or protein in the urine, ask your veterinarian why he or she is recommending treatment. Experts currently recommend against antibiotic therapy under these circumstances because the dogs immune system is holding the bacteria in check and antibiotics are unable to eliminate the infection.
Dogs who have contracted Lyme disease do not develop prolonged, protective immunity and can be reinfected at a later date. Talk to your veterinarian about how best to prevent future infections. Options include measures to prevent the ticks that carry Lyme disease from biting your dog and Lyme vaccination.
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