Get An Accurate Diagnosis
To get an accurate diagnosis, you must first find the right doctor specializing in Lyme disease. Do the research and look for a doctor who has extensive knowledge, licensure and certification, and a high success rate working with patients.
This doctor may not be in the United States. One of the most well-renowned infectious diseases clinics is Lyme Mexico.
You may be thinking you cant travel to Mexico for help, but you can. You can spend the same amount of time and money visiting multiple doctors near your home without results. Or, you can meet with a top expert in Lyme disease and receive the treatment that gives you back the life you deserve.
Lyme literate doctors have modern and more aggressive treatments to help heal your Lyme disease. Lyme specialists not only know about more aggressive treatments, but they also provide them in their clinics on an outpatient basis.
Where Does Lyme Disease Exist
As Lyme spreads throughout the country, the knowledge of how best to treat it may lag behind the disease. As of 2021, Lyme cases are clustered mainly throughout the northern states east of the Mississippi River, with the heaviest concentrations in New England and Pennsylvania.
But the disease is spreading, and doctors outside the dense blue areas in the map above may be slow to catch up on the science. They may not know to test for Lyme when faced with the symptoms, and they may not know to test more than once. Theres also a lower chance theyll know how to treat the disease.
That was certainly the case with my Lyme diagnosis. I felt lucky that the test caught my illness, but I wasnt satisfied with the prescription of two weeks of doxycycline. Nor did it solve my problem.
Doctors who practice in endemic areas generally know more about the illness, says Dr. Nelson. They often read more about it, see more cases of it, and get more training on it.
Delaney goes further. Even in the Northeast, many doctors have a difficult time diagnosing Lyme disease or even understanding it, she says. I hear from patients all the time who like you had to research their own symptoms. And they were suspicious about Lyme disease and went to their doctor and said, hey, can you test me?
How Do You Get Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick, most often a baby tick called a nymph . That sounds scary like the moment a tick lands on your or your kid, youre potentially going to get Lyme. However, thats not the case. Mordue explains that it takes 36-48 hours in order for the pathogen to be transmitted. In other words, the tick has to stay on your body for at least a day and half to actually infect you. That is one reason it is so important to check yourself for ticks after potential exposure to an environment likely to have ticks, she explains.
So what environments have ticks? Ticks tend to be near the ground, in leaf litter, grasses, bushes and fallen logs. High risk activities include playing in leaves, gathering firewood and leaning against tree trunks, explains Dorothy Leland, board president of LymeDisease.org. Yet even if youre not doing any of that, youre not completely in the clear. Ticks can be in a local park or your yard too, or even take a ride into your house on your dog. Watching out for ticks throughout the summer, no matter what youre doing, is important.
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Does Lyme Disease Treatment With Antibiotics Affect Antibody Levels
Antibiotic treatment affects the pathogen . It does not directly influence antibody titers. However, if the treatment is successful and bacteria are removed from the host, the B-cells are not further triggered to produce new antibodies. As a consequence antibodies levels decrease after treatment. Thus, antibody levels are indicators of treatment success .
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 .
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Can Dogs Get Lymes Disease Twice
Once infected, a dog will always have the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in his or her body. Therefore, relapses are possible, and owners should be on the lookout for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/or lameness. A small percentage of dogs develop kidney failure as a result of Lyme disease.
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.
Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Post
Patients typically use the term chronic Lyme disease to describe the cluster of symptoms that started after getting Lyme disease and that persist despite having received a course of antibiotic treatment which has been deemed curative by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Patients say, “I’m not cured. I have symptoms now that I never had before Lyme disease. I’m fatigued 90% of the day. My muscles ache. My brain is in a fog. I can’t think clearly any more. I’m super sensitive to light and sound. What is going on? Chronic Lyme disease does exist – I’m a living example of it!”
Whatever one calls it, the experience is the same. Most often these patients experience profound fatigue, pain, and/or cognitive impairment. Mild to moderate levels of depression and anxiety may also accompany these symptoms, as the functional limitations can lead to social isolation, inability to work, and loss of sense of one’s identity as a provider, caretaker, or friend. Sometimes patients find themselves identifying with Job – the just and good man in the Bible whose life was wrecked by illness, death of loved ones, and economic disaster he felt tormented by God.
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For women who have Lyme disease, the struggle can be especially difficult, given the complicated nature of the disease.
“The problem with Lyme disease is that there are so many different strains,” said Dr. Andrea Gaito, a New Jersey-based rheumatologist who specializes in treating Lyme disease. “One person can have it and have headaches, someone else can have joint pain, someone else can have palpitations. And none of these are specific to Lyme. There’s no Lyme test that’s 100% accurate. Unless you have a tick in a baggie, literally, and a bulls-eye rash, there’s sometimes a delay in diagnosis.”
A Long Journey Of Pain And Misdiagnosis
Tait estimates that she had Lyme for about 15 years before she was diagnosed. She thinks she was bitten by a tick as a teen in Californias Bay Area, where she grew up. In high school, she was a dancer. Suddenly she was getting injured more than usual joints coming out of their sockets and ligaments tearing after doing normal routines. During class, she was exhausted and having trouble concentrating. Her grades started to slip.
Looking back, its now clear I was neurologically starting to not be myself, she said. But when youre a teenager, a lot of it is just attributed to, Youre a teenager!
Tait, who was thin with a bubbly personality, recalled one doctor telling her she was too pretty to be sick.
Eventually she was diagnosed with depression and prescribed an antidepressant.
In college, Tait started to experience seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
My fatigue was getting worse, she said. I was dropping out of classes left and right and I would get sick constantly. Thats where this weird sort of self-fulfilling prophecy came in: I was depressed. But I wasnt sick because I was depressed. I was depressed because I was sick.
But once they put epilepsy down , at least I had turned a corner where they had a label on something, Tait continued. Then would just add things You have fibromyalgia and you probably also have chronic fatigue syndrome. But they didnt tell me how to fix it. Everything was, Try antidepressants because we dont really know.
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For women who have Lyme disease, the struggle can be especially difficult, given the complicated nature of the disease.
The problem with Lyme disease is that there are so many different strains, said Dr. Andrea Gaito, a New Jersey-based rheumatologist who specializes in treating Lyme disease. One person can have it and have headaches, someone else can have joint pain, someone else can have palpitations. And none of these are specific to Lyme. Theres no Lyme test thats 100% accurate. Unless you have a tick in a baggie, literally, and a bulls-eye rash, theres sometimes a delay in diagnosis.
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How Can Tick Bites Be Prevented
Ticks, and thus tick bites, are fairly common in eastern and central Canada and the United States. Black-legged ticks are less frequently found in Newfoundland and Labrador, compared to other eastern Canadian provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. For information on Lyme disease risk areas in Canada, visit: Lyme disease: Prevention and risks.When visiting Lyme disease risk areas, such as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Quebec, the following precautions can reduce the chances of being bitten by a tick:
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas that contain high grass and leaf litter
- If you go into wooded areas, walk in the center of cleared paths
- Wear light coloured long-sleeved shirts and long pants to spot ticks more easily. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and pull your socks over your pant legs
- Use an insect repellent such as DEET or Icaridin
- Check yourself, your family and pets after being in an area where ticks may be present and,
- Shower or bathe within two hours of returning from outdoor activities to wash away loose ticks.
After going outdoors, do a full body tick check on yourself, your family and pets. Scan the entire body a tick can sometimes resemble a mole and be as small as the period at the end of this sentence.
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Human Parvovirus B19 Infection
Human parvovirus B19 infection is transmitted by respiratory tract infection or during pregnancy and blood transfusion . Its reservoir is the human being. The disease can exhibit a chronic course of months or years . Whether parvovirus B19 causes chronic myocarditis and cardiomyopathy is a matter of dispute . The chronic course is verified by the detection of pathogen in articular effusions, in the myocardium, bone marrow, and blood . With regard to Lyme disease, the following differential diagnostic disease manifestations are relevant: persistent or recurrent arthropathy, myocarditis and cardiomyopathy. Fifth disease or erythema infectiosum is a typical skin manifestation of parvovirus B19 infection in children, but does not normally occur in adults. Arthralgias can last for months or years.
How Stephanie Got Answers
About four years ago, Tait started to suspect she had Lyme disease. A family friend had Lyme, and Tait recognized some of her own symptoms appearing in her friend. She asked her doctor for an ELISA, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or a blood test thats typically the first way doctors test patients who may have Lyme disease. When she learned her insurance wouldnt cover the cost, she paid for the test out of pocket. It came back negative.
Tait, however, wasnt convinced. She asked for another test, but she said the doctor refused. So she turned to a private lab for a second test, this one a Western Blot, which doctors typically turn to next, to verify a positive ELISA result. That test was positive for the Lyme antibodies.
I sobbed, because there it was in my hands that I wasnt just jumping to conclusions, Tait said. I walked back into my doctors office and said, Here it is. They said, Well, we didnt do this test, so how do we know? I said, Youve got to be kidding me. I have a lab test!
Tait started getting treatment at a private clinic in Idaho that specializes in treating Lyme disease, about a six-hour drive from where she lives.
Lyme disease is typically treated with antibiotics, and when treated early, people with Lyme usually recover completely. Taits treatment plan included antibiotics, immunotherapy, various supplements as well as dietary changes. But because she had been sick for so long, some of her health problems were irreversible.
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The Main Controversies Surrounding Lyme Disease
The blood test the CDC recommends to diagnose Lyme checks for an immune response to the bacteria, not for the Borrelia itself. Thats why the test can be negative if the disease is present for less than a month. It takes at least a couple of weeks to mount an immune response that would turn the test positive. It is easier to diagnose Lyme if you have the classic bulls-eye rash that shows up a few days after the tick bite. In these cases, testing is not even necessary. But the rash only shows up in 80% of cases.
If making a diagnosis can be complex, the controversy about the treatment is so intense that some have even coined the dispute Lyme wars. The clash emerged from doctors offices, and spread to public hearings in statehouses around the country. One of the main points of contention is the duration of antibiotic treatment not only for acute Lyme but also for PTLD. The evidence to recommend a specific length of antibiotics treatment is scarce. Most physicians follow the two- to-four-week treatment the CDC recommends. Some studies funded by the National Institutes of Health did not show any benefit when patients used several months of antibiotics. However, there is anecdotal evidence from a few patients who improved after months of antibiotic treatment. The naysayers believe this is probably due to a placebo effect.
Lyme Disease: Resolving The Lyme Wars
- By , Contributor
Its finally getting warm here in New England, and most of us have plans to enjoy the beautiful weather. And thats why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report raising awareness about how to prevent the tickborne infections that typically occur during this time of the year. Lyme disease is probably the most well-known, and the one for which diagnosis and treatment are most controversial.
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Stage : Early Localized Lyme Disease
Stage 1 or early localized Lyme disease occurs 128 days following a tick bite.
Some people with stage one Lyme disease do not experience any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include the following:
- a skin rash that may or may not resemble a bulls-eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and a fever
- swollen lymph nodes
A Reasonable Approach To Post
If you are being treated for PTLD, there is no magic bullet to treat this problem, but here are some important steps to consider:
- Choose a doctor you trust and who can work closely with you.
- If your doctor agrees to start antibiotics for several months, make sure you talk about the risks and cost, as this can be dangerous and expensive.
- Make sure not to rely solely on antibiotics. The evidence for a benefit from antibiotics is weak, and we rely mostly on physicians clinical experience and interest in the disease to design a personalized therapeutic plan. For some, a more holistic approach may be the way to go.
- If you try supplements, ask about their source and purity, as they are not FDA-regulated.
- Consider looking for services in medical school hospitals or clinics where they may have programs with ongoing research on how to diagnose and treat Lyme.
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What Should I Do If I Find A Tick On My Child
Don’t panic. First Lyme disease is spread by the black-legged tick, not by the larger and more-common dog tick. The risk of developing Lyme disease after a black-legged tick bite is low, especially if the tick has been attached for a short time.
If you find a tick on your child, remove it using a fine-tipped pair of tweezers. Grasp the body of the tick and pull in an upward motion until the tick comes out. Do not squeeze or twist the ticks body. Take note of the ticks size and color, and how long you think it has been attached to your child.
If your child has been bitten by a black-legged tick that has been attached for more than 24 hours and you are in a Lyme disease endemic area, consult with your pediatrician. In some cases, your child may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent Lyme disease from developing.