When Should I Get A Lyme Disease Test
Lyme disease testing is only recommended under certain circumstances. In general, antibody tests are conducted when you have symptoms of Lyme disease and a confirmed or likely exposure to ticks that are known to carry Borrelia. In these cases, the timing of testing is important. Because antibodies may not form for a few weeks, testing soon after a tick bite or development of a skin rash may cause misleading results.
Antibody testing is not advised if you do not have symptoms of Lyme disease, including for people who live in areas that are confirmed to have the types of ticks that can transmit Borrelia. Testing is also not recommended if you have general symptoms, such as joint pain, but no likely exposure to Borrelia-carrying ticks.
If you have had a tick bite and/or symptoms of Lyme disease, you should talk with your doctor who can address whether Lyme disease antibody testing is appropriate in your situation.
Are Test Results Accurate
When looking at your test results, itâs important to know that laboratory methods can have a significant impact on the outcome of Lyme disease antibody testing.
Analyzing blood samples for Borrelia antibodies is a technical process. In some cases, cross-reactivity can cause a positive result when you havenât actually had a Borrelia infection. Cross-reactivity is when antibodies to other infectious organisms are detected by the test as if they were antibodies to Borrelia.
The CDC has created standards for testing in order to reduce the chances of this kind of false positive result. Studies have found that results are most reliable in labs that use these CDC standards.
The timing of blood antibody testing can also affect accuracy because IgM and IgG antibodies develop at different rates. Taking the test too early after Borrelia exposure can lead to a false negative result even if you have an active infection.
Beyond antibody blood testing, many test methods marketed for Lyme disease are not proven to be accurate. The CDC recommends against the use of unvalidated tests, including the following:
- Urine tests such as urine antigen or PCR tests
- Blood testing with PCR or any laboratory method other than an enzyme immunoassay, immunofluorescence assay, or the Western Blot, also called immunoblot, method
- Cell culture, immunofluorescence staining, or cell sorting of Borrelia bacteria
- Lymphocyte transformation tests
- CD57 lymphocyte assays
The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Now that brighter mornings and longer evenings are on the horizon, its only natural for us to daydream of the activities we can welcome back into our schedules – including hobbies that allow us to soak up all the great outdoors has to offer.
However, with summer, comes a rise in the number of Lyme disease cases. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, with estimates suggesting around 476,000 people get Lyme disease each year in the U.S . And for those who enjoy the fresh air during these sunnier months, there is a very real risk of coming into contact with the infamous black-legged tick known to reside in grassy, outdoor areas.
Heres what you need to know about Lyme disease, including the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, the causes, and how you can get tested.
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Should You Get A Test For Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is treated soon after a tick bite, the outlook is great. Most cases of Lyme disease respond to a 2- to 4-week round of antibiotics.
If Lyme disease goes untreated, it can be more difficult to eliminate. For some, it can lead to inflammation of the joints, heart, and nervous system. Progression of the disease, and its severity, can vary from person to person.
Lyme disease is staged in categories: acute, early disseminated, and late disseminated. Later stages of Lyme disease may involve multiple systems in the body.
The most common sign of Lyme disease is an erythema migrans, or bulls-eye rash. The rash often appears after a delay of 3 to 30 days after the tick bite, according to the
Research from 2014 suggests that the bulls-eye rash may last for 3 to 4 weeks. About 80 percent of people with Lyme disease have a single erythema migrans rash. But the bacteria can spread and lead to multiple rashes, indicating disseminated Lyme disease.
While a rash is the most common symptom of Lyme disease, it isnt the only one.
With disseminated Lyme disease, symptoms can also include neurologic conditions, such as cranial nerve palsy and meningitis that mimics aseptic meningitis. Heart inflammation can also be a sign of Lyme disease.
If youre experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, an at-home test may help you identify Lyme disease. With the click of a button, a test can be shipped to your front door.
To select the best tests, we look at studies and user reviews.
Stage : Early Disseminated Infection
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks after the tick bite. During this stage, bacteria are beginning to spread throughout the body. Its characterized by flu-like symptoms, such as:
- Muscle aches
During early disseminated Lyme disease youll have a general feeling of being unwell. A rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite, and neurological signs such as numbness, tingling, and Bells palsy can also occur. This stage of Lyme disease can be complicated by meningitis and cardiac conduction disturbances. The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
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What Is Typically The First Sign Of Lyme Disease
The first sign of Lyme disease is usually a small red bump, visible on the skin. This bump will appear where you have been bitten by a tick bite or where a tick has been removed. In most instances, this small red bump will resolve on its own. If the small red bump doesn’t disappear and instead begins developing into a rash, it’s a primary indicator that you may have Lyme disease.
Erythema migrans is the name commonly given to the rash that develops after the initial bite from a deer tick. This rash is usually in a bulls-eye pattern, however, it is important to note that this rash can take on many different patterns as detailed below.
Between 3-30 days after the initial tick bite, a red rash may begin to expand and spread. A tell-tale sign of Lyme disease occurs when the center of the rash goes from red to clear at the center, often referred to as a “Bulls-eye Rash.”
This bull’s-eye pattern may expand to twelve inches across the infected area, it is a trademark of the disease, but it’s also important to remember that it is not a given for everyone who is diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Some of the other first signs of Lyme disease might include:
- Swollen glands
Some of the more uncommon symptoms of Lyme disease often present themselves if the Lyme disease has gone untreated over a substantial period of time. Some of these later symptoms of Lyme disease may include:
One of the most reliable ways to find out more is through a Lyme Disease Test.
Who Should Get Testing
Testing is usually indicated if a person has symptoms of Lyme disease and a known or possible exposure to ticks that can carry the Borrelia bacteria. However, because it takes time for antibodies to develop, the timing of testing is important to consider.
Lyme disease symptoms depend on the extent of the bacterial infection. Three phases are used to describe the infection:
It is important to understand these phases because testing is not equally valuable in each stage. With early localized disease and erythema migrans, blood testing is generally not helpful because antibodies have not had enough time to develop.
Because of similar concerns about potential false positive results, random screening for Lyme disease in people without symptoms is not recommended even in areas that are known to have ticks that can carry the Borrelia bacteria.
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Enhance Your Exercise And Weight Control Plan
Want to get in shape or lose weight? Home monitoring can help you achieve your goals with greater ease.
- Heart rate and fitness monitors make it possible to determine how many calories you’re burning during your workouts and throughout the course of your daily routine.
- Pedometers track the number of steps that you take, so you can gradually increase your level of physical activity.
- Scales and body fat monitors make it possible to accurately track your weight and body mass index. This way, you can see how well your diet and exercise routine are working for you and make changes as needed.
When Not To Take This Lyme Disease Test
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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What We Look For In The Best Lyme Disease Tests
There are a few important criteria we look for when choosing a test for Lyme disease. Some may be of higher priority to you than others, but all are worth considering while you decide.
- Trustworthiness: Does the company have positive reviews from real customers. Do they test your samples in accredited labs?
- Value-for-money: Does the Lyme disease cost come at a fair price with no pricey add-ons?
- Actionability: Does your report guide you towards the next steps following a positive result? Is experienced medical advice available?
- Speedy Results: Are your results delivered in a timely manner so you can take any required action as soon as possible?
- Report Clarity: Can you understand your results? Is support available if you require further explanation?
- IgG and IgM antibody test for Lyme disease bacteria
- CLIA and Cap-accredited labs
The Lyme disease test from LetsGetChecked analyzes your blood sample for reactivity to Borrelia IgG and IgM antibodies Borrelia is the bacteria carried by some ticks, that causes Lyme disease. A large concentration of IgM can indicate recent infection, while a higher concentration of IgG may indicate a Lyme disease infection thats been present for a while.
If you test positive, a member of the nursing team will call you to discuss your results and treatment options. If you need any additional support, the nursing team is available 24/7 to answer any questions that may have slipped your mind during your consultation.
Why Go With Letsgetchecked
Rather than wait for a doctors appointment, find a lab, and wait for test results, LetsGetChecked offers consumers an at-home blood test that tests your biology for a number of relevant diseases and health issues. The process is easy, quick, and painless. And the best part is that these tests come back with results that are on the same accuracy level as a standard blood test you would take at your doctors office.
LetsGetChecked puts itself a cut above the rest by offering professional medical guidance. Its experts are all certified, medical professionals, available 24/7 for assistance and medical advice. Staff includes registered nurses, genetic counselors, specialist doctors, and more.
LetsGetChecked also offers a huge range of tests that include biomarkers for cardiovascular, fertility, digestive, metabolic health, and sexually-transmitted diseases. There is also genetic screening for certain diseases such as ovarian cancer.
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Speed Of Kit Delivery And Results
Everything is incredibly fast with this company. LetsGetChecked ships out your test kit next day delivery. You ship the samples back and LetsGetChecked sends out the results to a partner lab within 24 hours. Your results will then be available online within 2 to 5 days. So, you could be finished with the entire process in a week.
You can track the status of your test on the mobile app via your health dashboard, and all labs are fully CPA and ISO-accredited.
One thing that sets this company apart is the team of certified clinicians working on your samples. When the results are ready, you dont just get an email notifying you. Instead, one of these health professionals will call you to discuss your test results personally. If you have questions, dont understand a portion of the results, or cant make heads or tails of the report, there is someone right there able to explain everything.
Thats an impressive claim and earns LetsGetChecked big points for really being there for its clients, but thats not all. If your test results show some of your levels are out of range , the nursing support staff will sit together with you and create a customized plan for how to get back to a healthy place. You will even be signed up for consultations with a private clinic that works with your area of need. Personalized treatment programs like this alone are worth thousands of dollars, so LetsGetChecked really puts its competitors to shame with this feature.
Monitor Your Vital Signs At Home
Many of the monitors found here at Walgreens are used for monitoring vital signs.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection that results from a tick bite. The symptoms vary, and you can feel sick for months because of it. Some of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease are flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and headache. A rash can also occur in 70 to 80 percent of infections. If left untreated, the symptoms can worsen into facial palsy, dizziness, heart palpitations, and more.
The Role Of Lyme Disease Tests
The purpose of the most common type of Lyme disease testing is to determine whether you have developed antibodies as a result of past exposure to the Borrelia bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Antibodies are proteins created by the immune system that target specific threats like bacteria and viruses.
Blood testing alone cannot determine whether you have Lyme disease. Instead, testing can provide helpful information that your doctor can consider along with other factors, such as any symptoms youve had and whether youve been exposed to ticks that can carry Borrelia, to determine if a diagnosis of Lyme disease is appropriate.
Beyond blood testing, it is possible to analyze fluid from the central nervous system for signs of the Borrelia bacteria.
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Whats In The Fine Print
Ive done the extra research to make sure that you dont get any nasty surprises such as extra costs when purchasing your Lyme Disease test.
There are no shipping costs for the test kits from Everlywell, LetsGetChecked, or Personalabs but if you order a DNA test from SelfDecodeyou will need to pay for shipping. However, SelfDecode does ship all over the world.
Testing costs may be covered by your HSA/FSA. LetsGetChecked and Everlywell accept payments via Health Savings Accounts/Flexible Savings Accounts. This could save you on out-of-pocket testing costs talk to your provider before ordering.
Perhaps most importantly, the results of your at-home Lyme disease test is not a clinical diagnosis they only check for your bodys IgM and IgG antibody response to potential Lyme infection. You should follow up with your doctor if symptoms persist regardless of the results of your test.
How Much Do At
Generally, at-home Lyme disease tests cost around $100, while others may cost closer to $500. The difference comes down to how many pathogens you are hoping to test for. On average, the test will look for two or three, but more expensive tests may screen for 10 to 15.
Depending on your insurance and which test you select, it may be covered. Another option is to pay for the Lyme disease test with your HSA/FSA, since some companies will accept that as a payment form.
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