Biological Explanations For Chronic Lyme Disease
Several arguments have been made to support the biological plausibility of CLD and to justify its treatment with lengthy courses of antibiotics. One is that B burgdorferilocalizes intracellularly in the infected host, and that the antibiotics typically chosen to treat it do not penetrate cells effectively. Aside from the fact that B burgdorferi predominantly occupies the extracellular matrix, the antibiotics currently recommended to treat Lyme disease are well-established to treat a variety of intracellular infections. For example, doxycycline and azithromycin are first-line drugs for the treatment of Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, and Legionella, and doxycycline is the drug of choice for Rickettsia and related species. Ceftriaxone is effective against Salmonella and Neisseria, both of which are predominantly intracellular amoxicillin is effective against Listeria.
Another commonly voiced argument is that B burgdorferi assumes a round morphology, variously described as cyst forms,spheroplasts,L-forms, and round bodies. These variants are said to be resistant to antibiotic treatment and require alternative antibiotics and dosing strategies. On close review of the literature there is little evidence that these variants arise in vivo in humans, let alone that they are associated with CLD-like symptom complexes or that they require treatment.
Who Is At Risk
You are at risk of getting Lyme disease if you have been bitten by an infected tick. In most cases, the tick needs to be attached to you for at least 36-48 hours for Lyme disease to be transmitted: So if you notice the tick and remove it sooner, you are less likely to become sick.
You are at higher risk of catching Lyme disease if you live in an area where Lyme disease is endemic and you engage in activities where it is likely you will be exposed to ticks, such as hiking and camping. The best way to prevent yourself from getting Lyme disease is to wear long socks, use insect repellant, wear light-colored clothing , and check yourself for ticks regularly.
What To Do If You Have A Blacklegged Tick Bite
Remove the tick by pulling it directly out with fine-tipped tweezers. Lift upward with slow and even pressure. Dont twist when removing it. Dont crush it or put soap or other substances on it. Dont apply heat to it.
Place the tick in a resealable container. See if you can identify what kind of a tick it is.
Immediately after removing the tick, wash your skin well with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.
Not all ticks carry Lyme. The Lyme bacteria is transmitted only by blacklegged ticks in their nymph or adult stage.
Save the tick to show your doctor. The doctor will want to determine if its a blacklegged tick and if theres evidence of feeding. Ticks enlarge as they feed. Your risk of getting Lyme from an infected tick increases with the length of time that the tick fed on your blood.
Pull the tick out with tweezers and save it in a resealable container for identification.
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Treating The Cause Of Fatigue
As you can see, there are multiple causes of fatigue that are associated with Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. The key is to identify what system or systems have been affected by the infections and address the causes. When this happens, your energy can improve and you can start to enjoy a higher quality of life again!
Persistent Symptoms After Treatment For Lyme Disease
It is well-recognized that some patients experience prolonged symptoms during convalescence from Lyme disease, and a subset suffer significant functional impairment., The most common complaints among such patients are arthralgias, myalgias, headache, neck and backache, fatigue, irritability, and cognitive dysfunction .
A working definition was developed to categorize patients with post-Lyme disease symptoms , those patients with persistent clinical symptoms after treatment for Lyme disease, but who lack objective evidence of treatment failure, reinfection, or relapse . PLDS is not strictly speaking a coherent clinical diagnosis its primary value has been to define a patient cohort for further study. Nonetheless, it is worth considering how it conceptually differs from CLD. To meet criteria for PLDS, patients must have unequivocal documentation of appropriately treated Lyme disease, lack objective manifestations of Lyme disease, and have persistent symptoms that cannot be explained by other medical illnesses. Thus, of patients with chronic symptoms that have been attributed to Lyme disease, those meeting criteria for PLDS are those for whom infection with B burgdorferi is most plausible. This makes the studies of PLDS paradigmatic for the understanding of CLD.
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The Confusing Terminology Of Chronic Lyme Disease
The mere name chronic Lyme disease is in itself a source of confusion. Lyme disease, in conventional use, specifically describes infection with the tick-borne spirochete B burgdorferi sensu lato. The diagnosis chronic Lyme disease, by incorporating that terminology, connotes a similar degree of microbiologic specificity the addition of the word chronic further implies that there is some distinction between chronic Lyme disease and other manifestations of the infection. This distinction in itself is problematic because several manifestations of Lyme disease may indeed present subacutely or chronically, including Lyme arthritis, acrodermatitis chronicum atrophicans, borrelial lymphocytoma, and late Lyme encephalopathy.
Chronic Lyme disease, however, has no clinical definition and is not characterized by any objective clinical findings. The only published attempt to define CLD provisionally produced a description too broad to distinguish CLD from myriad other medical conditions, and the case definition did not mention evidence of B burgdorferi infection . The absence of a definition makes it impossible to investigate whether a patient population with putative CLD has evidence of infection with B burgdorferi this would seem to be a basic requirement to include a syndrome within the term Lyme disease. It stands to reason that it is impossible to even posit a well-designed antibiotic trial when the study population is undefined.
Has Niaid Looked At Whether Infection Persists After Antibiotic Therapy
Several recent studies suggest that B. burgdorferi may persist in animals after antibiotic therapy. In one study, NIAID-supported scientists found that remnants of B. burgdorferi remained in mice after antibiotic treatment. Another team of NIAID-supported investigators found that intact B. burgdorferi persist in nonhuman primates after antibiotic treatment. It was not possible to culture these bacteria and it is not clear whether they are infectious. More recent work by Hodzic et al. replicated the earlier finding of persisting DNA but non-cultivatable B. burgdorferi after antibiotic treatment using a mouse model. In 2017, scientists at the Tulane National Primate Research Centers, funded in part by an NIH research resources grant, reported evidence of persistent and metabolically active B. burgdorferi after antibiotic treatment in rhesus macaques.
In a first-of-its-kind study for Lyme disease, NIAID-supported researchers have used live, disease-free ticks to see if Lyme disease bacteria can be detected in people who continue to experience symptoms such as fatigue or arthritis after completing antibiotic therapy). This study remains underway.
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How To Accurately Diagnose Lyme Disease
Ok, by this point in the post, I hope youre far more cautious about conventional testing for Lyme. Just because your family doctor tells you Lyme antibodies were not found in your blood, that does not mean you dont have Lyme disease.
Now, Im going to complicate testing for Lyme disease even more.
Those antibodies that show up in your blood, they can last for a number of years. Meaning that you could have been infected with Lyme disease at some point in time but your immune system warded off the infection. But your immune system is still producing antibodies which is why your test comes back positive. This could lead to an intense treatment protocol that may not even be necessary.
A better way of testing for Lyme disease is through something called an EliSpot. EliSpot testing measures T-lymphocytes. T-lymphocytes are a subtype of white blood cells that play a central role in cell-mediated immunity. Cell-mediated immunity does not rely on antibodies to defend your body from invaders. Instead, lymphocytes that are unique to an invader are used for defense.
As you may have surmised, there are specific T-lymphocytes that your body uses for fighting the Borrelia bacteria .
CD57+ cells are helpful to be run as you work your way through a treatment protocol. If your treatment is working, youll start to see an increase in CD57+ cells. This is one of the first markers you can use to determine if treatment is working or not.
Theres More To The Mystery Of Lyme Disease
Just when you thought you had a handle on diagnosing Lyme, Im going to complicate things once again. Enter co-infections.
When a tick bites you, she may be carrying more than just the Borrelia bacteria. Fun fact only female ticks will spread Lyme disease and other co-infections.
Co-infections are other bacterial strains that can be transferred from tick to you through a bite. If you have a co-infection, treating Borrelia is not enough. Youll also have to identify and treat the co-infections. Some of the more common co-infections include:
- Babesia is a parasite that closely resembles malaria.
- Symptoms of babesiosis are similar to those of Lyme disease but babesiosis more often starts with a high fever and chills. As the infection progresses, patients may develop fatigue, headache, drenching sweats, muscle aches, chest pain, hip pain and shortness of breath.
- Sounds a lot like chronic fatigue doesnt it?
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The Chronic Lyme Disease Controversy
Chronic Lyme disease is a poorly defined term that describes the attribution of various atypical syndromes to protracted Borrelia burgdorferi infection. These syndromes are atypical for Lyme disease in their lack of the objective clinical abnormalities that are well-recognized in Lyme disease and, in many cases, the absence of serologic evidence of Lyme disease as well as the absence of plausible exposure to the infection. The syndromes usually diagnosed as CLD include chronic pain, fatigue, neurocognitive, and behavioral symptoms, as well as various alternative medical diagnosesmost commonly neurologic and rheumatologic diseases. Perhaps the most recognized and contentious facet of this debate is whether it is effective, appropriate, or even acceptable to treat patients with protracted antibiotic courses based on a clinical diagnosis of CLD.
Lyme Disease /chronic Infections
We offer specialty testing that can identify possible exposure to the bacteria as well as infection. For many patients who are searching for a diagnosis to explain their symptoms, Laboratory testing can be an important aid in the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Proper use and interpretation of laboratory tests requires physicians that understand these tests and have specialized training, and the underlying likelihood that you have the disease. Many doctors simply do not have this level of understanding. At Advance Health Integrative Medicine we are now able to provide you with real answers that you have been searching for.
While we offer cutting edge testing modalities for the identification of Lyme disease as well as integrative customized treatment plans to help restore immune balance and a healthy state to the body, we do this with great attention to the individual as a whole not simply targeting a disease while ignoring the entirety of the individual it is in. One of the main things to keep in mind when addressing Lyme and other chronic infections is the crucial role of immune health in the ability to heal the body and prevent infection and resulting illness.
One of the most important factors in treating chronic infections, Lyme disease and many other diseases is the human microbiome that each of us harbors as important as our individual genome it is referred to as our second genome.
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Disease Semantics And Naming
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are diagnosed when no other cause of fatigue or muscle achiness can be found. They are both a diagnosis of exclusion. This means we exclude any other causes of these problems.
If someone actually has Lyme disease causing muscle pains or fatigue, then it is no longer correct to say they have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. They actually have Lyme disease causing muscle aches or severe fatigue and all the other symptoms associated with these two diagnoses.
Failure Of Conventional Treatment Of Lyme Disease
When detected early, it is thought that Lyme disease is easily eradicated using a course of oral antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline. Indeed, most sufferers react quite well to treatment, especially in the early stages, with the symptoms of acute Lyme disease disappearing and patients able to resume their normal life seemingly free of the infection and all its symptoms. However, as mentioned previously, a low level of Borrelia spirochete bacteria often continues to persist undetected in the sufferers body. This is where conventional therapies fail.
Remember, once chronic Lyme disease arrives on your doorstep, you must be prepared for a multi-prone integrated approach for successful long-term recovery. Even the best antibiotics tend to fail unless they are delivered in the proper dose and timing. Otherwise, slow or retarded recovery remains significant clinical challenge.
The key factor determining overall success is how strong the body is intrinsically. No antibiotic can do its job successfully without the assistance of our bodys optimized internal stress control mechanism. This job is ultimately the responsibility of the bodys built in NEM stress response system, which controls the immune system and inflammatory responses of our body through a variety of biological systems and circuits. The adrenal glands also play a major role.
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How Lyme Disease And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Are Different
Like mentioned above, Lyme disease is a bacterium. Specifically, and most commonly, Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease requires antibiotic treatment, or specific herbal treatment, to combat the bacteria and heal the body from the infection. While there are treatments for Lyme disease, living with the disease and its symptoms can be very overwhelming.
Lyme disease is most often passed from the bite of a tick but there are other ways its passed to people, including from mother to child while in the womb.
Chronic fatigue syndrome on the other hand is thought to either originate from a virus or possibly stress. Not a lot is known about chronic fatigue syndrome or in how its triggered in the body. There is currently no known cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, only management of the symptoms.
Both Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome can be debilitating diseases and can affect the patient greatly in their day-to-day lives. Its important to have a good support system if you have either disease, including doctors who understand what there is to know about each disease so that you have the best chance of a quality life despite the disease you may be diagnosed with.
Comprehensive Holistic Strategy Required
It should come as no surprise that those with chronic Lyme disease tend to do best when the following are considered:
- The adrenal glands are strong
- The NEM stress response system is optimized
- The liver and extracellular space is clean and uncongested
- The toxic metabolite load is kept well under the maximum load at all times
- There is a concerted effort to lower the pathogens biofilm ahead of time allowing easier penetration of natural or synthetic antibiotics
- Proper use of a basket of antibiotics, pulsed delivery with an intracellular focus and on a rotational basis to ensure pathogens are ill-prepared
- Always making sure the entire body is able to promptly get rid of the accumulation of toxins in order to avoid s retoxification reaction
- Ensuring the bodys nutritional reserves are optimized to allow sufficient drawdown of energy without draining the bodys energy supply, which could result in adrenal crashes or crises
- Ensuring the entire body is well protected from antibiotics which can cause collateral damage within and thus be very disruptive
- Dietary modifications, as needed, to optimize nutrition reserves and prevent a catabolic state
- Lifestyle modifications based on sleep hygiene and exercise tolerance.
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Lyme Disease Uk Statement
Lyme Disease UK, a patient charity, was present at the SMC briefing, and promptly issued a statement:
We are disappointed in the proposition put forward at the briefing at the Science Media Centre today, that many possible Lyme disease sufferers actually have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a condition that has no diagnostic test and relies on the exclusion of other conditions
We agree that a disservice is being done to patients who suspect that they may have Lyme disease following a rash, multi-systemic symptoms or a positive blood test.
Many doctors do not recognise the EM rash which is diagnostic of the disease itself. Many are unaware that ticks infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease have been found in every county in the UK and many know nothing about the dire consequences of missing or incorrectly treating an acute Lyme infection.
These are the key messages that doctors and the general public need to be informed about. There should not be a downplaying of the currently inaccurate incidence figures or an over-reliance on serological testing, especially when there has been great progress made this year in terms of raising awareness of the disease.
The inference that patients would feel less stigmatised by a Lyme disease diagnosis than they would a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis, is without substance. Both conditions are severely stigmatised with a lack of treatment options, if any, available on the NHS.
Complete Natural Solution For Afs And Chronic Lyme Disease
Natural approaches and compounds need to be carefully considered and directed towards restoring the optimum NEM stress response and adrenal function. Here are some key goals and tips:
The above is by no means a complete list. The recovery blueprint of each person has to be customized in accordance with their individual state and sensitivity. Close monitoring is needed since the bodys state will change continuously throughout the recovery process. Some setbacks are normal, but with proper supervision, crashes can be avoided, and a soft landing can usually be achieved. Overly aggressive natural therapies must be avoided to prevent triggering adrenal crashes and crises that can worsen the overall clinical picture. Using stimulants and energy boosters are ill advised. While they may have positive effects in the short-term, the body soon runs into problems. An overzealous short gun approach to nutritional supplementation can also make matters worse. The right doses, often very small and graded, are needed for those who are extremely weak.
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