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Lyme Disease 20 Years Later

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Youve Been Diagnosed With Another Condition Without A Known Cause

Boys Lyme Disease Morphs into Autoimmune Disorder

Like its cousin Syphilis, which is also caused by a spirochete bacterium, Lyme is called the great imitator because it can impact any organ system or tissue of the body, says Reihman. So, when someone is diagnosed with a condition that has no known cause, the cause is sometimes Lyme. Conditions that can stem from Lyme include Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Autism, ADHD, Alzheimers, chronic pelvic pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, chronic migraines, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, as well as a number of mental health conditions.

If the diagnosis doesnt have a known cause or cure and youre not satisfied with that as an answer, its worth it to look into getting treatment for Lyme and seeing if that makes a dent in your symptoms, says Reihman.

Can You Live With Lyme Disease And Not Know It

One of the only reliable ways to know whether or not you have Lyme disease is through a lab test. This means that if symptoms go unnoticed, it is possible to live with the disease for weeks, months, or even years and not realize it. This is why its crucial to get tested if you suspect you could have contracted Lyme disease.

LetsGetCheckeds at-home Lyme Disease Test can identify Borrelia antibodies in the blood, which can indicate the presence of Lyme disease . Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available to help throughout the process to answer any questions you may have.

You should consider taking the test if:

  • You are presenting with symptoms of Lyme disease
  • You live in a place that is rich in vegetation or a woodland area
  • You live in Northern America or Northern Europe
  • You go camping or hiking on a regular basis, particularly during the Summer or Autumn
  • You come into contact with larger woodland animals on a regular basis

If you develop the erythema migrans rash, or if you experience any neurological symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Does Heat Make Lyme Disease Worse

Some patients bodies have trouble regulating blood pressure and heart rate, and extreme temperatures can send those processes into distress. Common Lyme symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, and joint acheshard enough to deal with on a moderate dayare intensified in the heat of summer or the bitterness of winter.

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Evaluation Of Study Subjects

Follow-up evaluations, which were performed at a field clinic in East Lyme, Connecticut, 19941996, included a medical history and physical examination, questionnaires about current symptoms and health status, and neuropsychological tests. The study was approved by the Human Investigations Committee at New England Medical Center. Information about current symptoms was first obtained by a symptom questionnaire, and the answers and the past medical history were discussed with a single physician investigator . The physical examination, which was also performed by that investigator, included examination of the joints, a tender point examination, and a detailed neurologic examination of strength testing, light touch sensation, pinprick, position sensation, reflexes, extraocular muscles, and facial and trigeminal nerve function.

Chronic Lyme Dos And Donts

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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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Early Detection Is Key

Lyme disease is easiest to treat at the early or acute stage, within the first 30 days of exposure. This is why its so important to take precautions to prevent tick bites, both during and outside of tick season. Protect yourself when near potential tick habitats, always perform tick checks after outdoor activity , and dont delay seeking medical attention if you notice any symptoms that might be related to tick-borne illness. Its important to get tested as soon as possible for the best chances of recovery.

Lyme Disease Laboratory Tests Available At Ripl

The primary service provided by RIPL is serological testing using well-characterised and validated screening and confirmatory tests in accordance with the NICE Lyme disease guideline.

RIPL participates in regular external quality assurance exercises as an independent measure of its performance.

Details of prices and turnaround times for Lyme testing are provided in Appendix 1 of the RIPL user manual.

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Do You Ever Fully Recover From Lyme Disease

Although most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2- to 4-week course of oral antibiotics, patients can sometimes have symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that last for more than 6 months after they finish treatment. This condition is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome .

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Reason : The Type Of Test Used

Doxycycline and Lyme Disease Treatment

PCR Test: Antibody Test :

Borrelia Culture Test:This test looks for the actual presence of the Lyme bacteria in a persons blood. It completely skips the middle man, antibodies, of antibody testing, and is considered the closest test to 100% accuracy in detecting an active Lyme infection in a person. The problem with this test is that it relies on a living Lyme bacterium to be cultured , and the nature of the Lyme bacteria is that it does not survive long outside of its host, even in cyst-form. This is why Advanced Laboratory Services, the lab that performs the Borrelia Culture Test, needs your blood sample within 24 hours of being withdrawn.

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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:

The Possible Causes Of Post

The mechanisms underlying post-Lyme disease symptoms are not known and are likely to be multifactorial. Possible explanations include persistent infection with B. burgdorferi, other tick-borne infections, part of the expected resolution of symptoms after treatment, post-infective fatigue syndrome, autoimmune mechanisms, and intercurrent conditions.

In many patients, these symptoms probably represent the natural evolution of response after therapy, as the percentage of patients reporting symptoms after antibiotic treatment decreases over time. In one study of patients treated for erythema migrans, 34% had symptoms at 3 weeks, 24% at 3 months, and 17% at 12 months . In other patients, a post-infective fatigue syndrome may be triggered by Lyme disease, as has been shown to occur with other infections. Prolonged fatigue after infections is relatively common, and it can be disabling and persistent. A recent study showed that post-infective fatigue syndrome could be predicted by the severity of the acute illness, and its incidence was similar after the different infections . In this cohort, the case rate for provisional post-infective fatigue syndrome was 35% at six weeks, 27% at three months, and 9% at 12 months rates similar to those reported in patients treated for erythema migrans . The mechanisms that are triggered during the acute illness and that sustain the persistent symptoms in post-infective fatigue syndrome are currently unknown.

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Ticked Off: 10 Years Living With Lyme Disease

I dont 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 womens magazine on her desk and said proudly, Im in this months 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 wasnt 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?

When Should I See My Healthcare Provider

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If you feel sick after having spent time in areas where ticks might live, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

If you received a Lyme disease diagnosis and you dont feel well after taking all of your antibiotics, contact your provider. This is especially true if you have symptoms like a stiff neck or mental confusion.

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What Does Knee Pain From Lyme Disease Feel Like

The main feature of Lyme arthritis is obvious swelling of one or a few joints. While the knees are affected most often, other large joints such as the shoulder, ankle, elbow, jaw, wrist, and hip can also be involved. The joint may feel warm to the touch or cause pain during movement.

What are the early symptoms of Lyme disease?

Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. In about 70% to 80% of infections, a rash will appear.

How soon do Lyme disease symptoms start?

People in the early stages of Lyme disease may feel very tired and have headaches, sore muscles and joints, and a fever. These symptoms can start at any time, from 3 days to up to a month after you have been bitten. Some people dont have any symptoms when they are in the early stages of Lyme disease.

What are the most common side effects of Lyme disease?

Bone pain. chills. cough. fever. muscle aches. runny or stuffy nose. shivering. skin rash, itching, redness, swelling, or other sign of irritation not present before vaccination.

Do Dogs Have Lyme Disease Forever

Some time since, or just prior to, the last test, your dog was bitten by a tick that harbored the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi.

According to a study at Cornell University, 94% of dogs that have been exposed will never develop disease symptoms.

This means a positive test is not the end of the world.

Lyme can be treated with antibiotics.

And there are many ways to prevent tick bites.

But theres no vaccine available if you want extra protection against the disease .

Yet in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a vaccine called LYMErix was sold to prevent between 76 and 92 percent of infections.

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Lyme Disease Vaccine In Late

Pfizer and French pharmaceutical company Valneva are enlisting 6,000 people for a late-stage clinical trial that will test a vaccine designed to protect against the tick-borne Lyme disease, the drugmakers said Monday.

If development of the vaccine is successful, it could become the first federally approved inoculation against Lyme disease in the United States since 2002, when Lymerix was pulled by its producer because of poor sales.

With increasing global rates of Lyme disease, providing a new option for people to help protect themselves from the disease is more important, Annaliesa Anderson, the head of vaccine development at Pfizer, said in a news release.

Participants will include adults and children 5 and older. They will receive three doses of the vaccine candidate, known as VLA15, or a placebo, followed by one booster dose or another placebo. The study will be held in as many as 50 sites where Lyme disease is highly endemic, the drugmakers said, including Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United States.

Video: New Lyme disease vaccine for humans being developed

Pending successful completion of the trials, the companies said, they could submit the vaccine to regulators in the United States and Europe for approval in 2025.

Early symptoms include rashes, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

Lets Clear The Air On Lyme

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There are three faces of Lyme disease:

  • Disseminated/late-stage/untreated Lyme
  • Post-treatment Lyme

Acute Lyme Disease No one argues about the existence of acute Lyme disease. Youre in the woods in a Lyme-rich area. You get bitten by a tick, you see a red rash or you dont, and have a flu-like illness. Doctors in the Northeast and the upper Midwest see so much of this that they simply start patients on antibiotics without waiting for any test results .

Disseminated/late-stage/untreated Lyme Sometime in the past you got bitten by a tick, didnt notice it, never saw a rash, and attributed the resulting illness to a summer flu. You got better and totally forgot about the incident.

Your symptoms went away because your immune system stepped in and did its job. Although the B. burgdorferi has spread through your body, its in a dormant state. It could remain suppressed like this for yearsdecades, evenand never give you a lick of trouble. Youd never be tested for Lyme disease because youre healthy, but if you were tested youd show positive antibodies for Lyme. Very likely quite a few healthy people living in Michigan or Wisconsin would test positive for Lyme, but since theyre fine, we dont test or treat.

Other illnesses get suppressed like this. 90% of us have antibodies for Epstein-Barr, most never remembering a case of mononucleosis. Same with shingles , the fungus Candida, and TB. This is our immune system doing its job efficiently.

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What Happens If Lyme Disease Is Left Untreated

Caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans through tick bites. It is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. In fact, its possible that there are around 476,000 cases per year in the U.S alone according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

A blood test is required to correctly diagnose a suspected Lyme disease case. Without trustworthy testing, Lyme disease cases can go undetected and its possible for people to live with the disease and not realize it – this can cause a number of complications.

Treating Lyme At Wholehealth Chicago

Of the three forms of Lyme disease, the one we see most frequently at WholeHealth Chicago is disseminated/late-stage/untreated Lyme.

Theres a good reason for this. First, were in the heart of Chicago. No ticks here. And when a kid gets a tick bite and a rash, shes probably returning from a Lyme-rich area like Wisconsin, although more and more theyve been to northern Illinois. Also, since Lyme has now been reported in all states and throughout Europe, travel history is less of an indicator than it was in the past. Nevertheless, most parents and doctors are knowledgeable enough to recognize acute Lyme and treat it accordingly.

We dont see that much post-treatment Lyme because in patients in their 20s, 30s, or older who are from the Midwest, Lyme disease wasnt ever suspected years ago, so it wasnt treated. There could be no post-treatment failure because no one was treated in the first place.

But disseminated/late-stage/untreated Lyme, thats another story. Most of us have vacationed in Michigan or Wisconsin over the years. Did we get tick bites years ago? Probablyin fact, likely. Did some of those ticks carry Lyme? Possibly, but years ago Lyme was just appearing in the Northeast and no one looked for Lyme here in the Midwest.

Both disseminated/late-stage/untreated Lyme and post-treatment Lyme are referred to by the general public and most physicians as chronic Lyme disease. But as I said earlier, they are not the same and the treatments are different.

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Diagnosis Testing And Treatment

You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.

Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.

It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:

  • Some people who receive antibiotics early in disease may not have a fully developed antibody response or may only develop an antibody response at levels too low to be detected by the test.
  • Antibodies against Lyme disease bacteria usually take a few weeks to develop, so tests performed before this time may be negative even if the person is infected. In this case, if the person is retested a few weeks later, they should have a positive test if they have Lyme disease. It is not until 4 to 6 weeks have passed that the test is likely to be positive. This does not mean that the test is bad, only that it needs to be used correctly.
  • If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.

  • Telford SR, Wormser GP. Bartonella transmission by ticks not established.Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Mar 16 379-84.
    • Report being bitten by a tick, or
    • Live in, or have recently visited, a tick-infested area.

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