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Lyme Disease And Neurological Problems


Who Is At Risk

The Obstacles to Neurological Lyme Disease Treatment

Many occupations may be at risk, including forestry, farming, veterinarians, construction, landscaping, ground keepers, park or wildlife management, and anyone who either works outside or has contact with animals that may carry ticks

Similarly, any person who spends a lot time outdoors , especially in grassy or wooded areas may also be at risk.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Tick bites are usually painless and most people do not know they have been bitten. Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary greatly from person to person, and may appear anywhere between 3 to 30 days after a person has been bitten.

Symptoms often include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Skin rash.

One sign of infection can be an expanding rash, sometimes referred to as a “bull’s eye” rash because it may have rings spreading from the bite site ). It is important to note that rashes without the bull’s eye may occur, and that rashes do not appear in every case of Lyme disease infection.

The PHAC states that if left untreated, more severe symptoms may occur and can last from months to years. Severe symptoms may include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Additional EM skin rashes..
  • Neurological disorders
  • Nervous system disorders, including facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy .
  • Intermittent muscle, joint, tendon, and bone aches
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and less commonly in other joints such as the ankle, elbow, and wrists.

If untreated, a condition called late disseminated Lyme disease may occur. PHAC reports symptoms include recurring arthritis , nervous system and/or neurological problems. Symptoms can also include numbness and/or paralysis . Deaths from Lyme disease are rare but may occur.

PHAC provides more information on Lyme Disease.

What Makes Yale Medicine’s Approach To Lyme Disease Unique

The discovery of Lyme disease is actually credited to two Yale physiciansAllan Steere, MD, and Stephen Malawista, MDwho identified the mysterious inflammatory disease after a rash of illnesses cropped up during the summer of 1975. That year, two mothers living in Old Lyme, Conn., refused to accept the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis among the children living in their town.

The mothers reached out to the Connecticut State Department of Health and the Yale School of Medicine for help, starting an epidemiological study that would ultimately uncover the bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. Today, doctors in Yale Medicines neurology department provide care for patients who have infections that affect the nervous system.

Thanks to a powerful partnership with research programs at Yale Medicine, patients benefit from the most recent advantages in treatment.

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Treating Neurologic Lyme Disease

Facial palsy is treated with oral antibiotics and Lyme meningitis can either be treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics, depending on severity. Most people experiencing the early onset of Lyme disease respond well to antibiotic therapy and fully recover. If you dont seek immediate treatment, there are varying degrees of permanent nervous system damage that may develop in late-stage Lyme disease.

To add to that, they will notice a slow degradation of the body functions leading to arthritis, heart problems, and neurological problems affecting the brain and the nervous system. Patients can experience persistent pain, fatigue, or cognitive disability that lasts as long as 6 months, sometimes even years.

Neurologic Lyme disease requires a specific intravenous antibiotic protocol to rid the bacteria from your central nervous system and brain tissue.

The Chronic Lyme Disease Controversy

Lyme disease

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.

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Whats The Difference Between Neurologic Lyme Disease And Ms

Olga Syritsyna, MD

Hearing the words you have Lyme disease or you have MS can be quite unsettling. And to complicate matters, when Lyme disease affects the central nervous system, the symptoms can be very similar to MS. So it can be hard to tell the difference to the untrained eye. Many doctors are generalists and not specially trained to diagnose either disease. Dr. Olga Syritsyna is a neurologist with subspecialty training in neurologic Lyme disease and MS.

What is neurologic Lyme disease?First, lets start with defining Lyme disease. Its a seasonal tick-borne infection caused by the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that can affect multiple organs and systems in the body. Its named after Lyme, CT, where it was first identified in 1975. In about 15 percent of cases, Lyme disease affects the central nervous system. When it does, it is known as neurologic Lyme disease. Sometimes, people who think they may have Lyme disease find out they have MS . Lyme disease as an infection can act to trigger MS attacks. This is why being seen by a neurologist specially trained to know the differences is key.

Why choose Stony Brook for diagnosis and treatment of neurologic Lyme disease?For neurologic Lyme disease, Stony Brook has extensive experience in detecting antibodies to the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that is carried by ticks and can affect the central nervous system. We do frequent lumbar punctures and perform a variety of tests on cerebrospinal fluid.

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.

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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.

How Is Neurological Lyme Disease Diagnosed

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There are currently no accurate diagnostic tests for Neurological Lyme Disease.

Blood tests and Western Blot Testing are commonly used, but they are not sensitive enough to be considered reliable. Blood tests can give a false negative result in 60% of cases in the first 2-4 weeks after diagnosis

Patients who display chronic Neuro Lyme Disease symptoms may be offered an MRI scan and late-stage Lyme Disease testing which includes cerebrospinal fluid testing. Lesions on the brain can show up during an MRI and can be confused with multiple sclerosis.

The best way of diagnosing Neurological Lyme Disease is to use a combination of tests, as the symptoms are so varied.

In order to make a diagnosis, Doctors need to have evidence of possible exposure, symptoms affecting the Central Nervous System and the results of laboratory tests.

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What Is The Prognosis For People Suffering From Neurological Lyme Disease

Neurological Lyme Disease treatment can be difficult to manage because of the different body systems affected, but it is not impossible. People do recover without lasting effects.

Treatmentneeds to address the weakened immune system as well as the effect on cellular function. Environmental factors also play a part.

It is essential to have a personal Neurological Lyme Disease treatment plan as the manifestation of the disease varies so much across patients, the symptoms have different stages and different body systems are affected.

Key Points For Healthcare Providers

  • In patients with facial palsy who are unable to close one or both eyes, eye drops or an eye patch may be needed to prevent dry eyes.
  • Neurologic symptoms do not necessarily indicate central nervous system infection in a patient with Lyme disease.
  • Two-step serologic testing for Lyme disease is the recommended diagnostic test for neurologic Lyme disease.
  • Cerebral spinal fluid analysis is not necessary to diagnose Lyme meningitis, but can help exclude other causes of illness, such as bacterial meningitis.
  • Consider Lyme radiculoneuritis in patients who report severe limb or truncal radicular pain without preceding trauma who live in or who have traveled to Lyme-endemic areas.
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    Neurological Lyme Disease Treatment

    Neuroborreliosis is a severe disease of the nervous system and treatment is with long-term antibiotic therapy. People with this type of Lyme disease need to reckon with taking several antibiotics at once over a long period of time. ILADS doctors use antibiotics such as doxycycline, tetracycline, penicillin, cephalosporins, and others. According to the ILADS organization, treatment of any version of Lyme disease should continue until symptoms resolve plus 1-2 months after symptoms disappear. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for symptoms to come back. It is important to continue to lead a healthy lifestyle, eat healthily, and strengthen your immunity after successfully completing antibiotic therapy.

    Of course, in addition to antibiotics, there are several alternative methods that can help cure Lyme disease. These include herbs , bioresonance, and stem cell treatment. Unfortunately, none of these methods have any research-confirmed activity against borrelia bacteria.

    Recently, a lot has been said about the breakthrough in the treatment of Lyme disease, as it turned out that Disulfiram, a drug used to treat alcoholism, copes well with Lyme disease. Unfortunately, the topic is still in its infancy and we will wait a little longer before we find out what the pros and cons of such treatment are.

    Understanding Symptoms Of Neurological Lyme

    Neurological Complications of Lyme Disease

    Lyme neuroborreliosis is thought to occur in about 15% of Lyme disease cases but a definite percentage is impossible to pin down. Everyone with Lyme disease experiences some neurological symptoms, but a specific composit of symptoms that constitute neurological Lyme is not well defined. Making matters worse, the Centers for Disease Control , does not recognize LNB as a separate entity, and it doesnt acknowledge the existence of a chronic form of Lyme disease.

    The most common initial symptom is neurogenic pain that starts in the back and radiates down the legs. With that comes weakness, numbness, and tingling in the lower extremities.

    Another common presenting symptom of LNB is facial nerve palsy , which is characterized by temporary paralysis on one side of the face. Some people also experience sound sensitivity and discomfort in the ear on the paralyzed side, and if youre unable to close that eye, dry eye can occur. Most people recover fully from Bells palsy, with improvement in the first few weeks and continuing for three to six months, but a minority of people have symptoms for life.

    Symptoms of LNB are thought to occur from infiltration of white blood cells immune cells like lymphocytes and plasmocytes into the white matter of the brain and the spinal cord, otherwise known as the central nervous system . This is associated with an increase in inflammatory immune messengers, called cytokines, in cerebrospinal fluid.

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    Neurological Lyme Disease Treatment What You Need To Know

    According to the research:

    around 15% of people with untreated Lyme Disease will need Neurological Lyme Disease treatment.

    Neurological Lyme Disease is one of the most debilitating forms of the disease, with patients experiencing a marked decrease in their quality of life.

    It can also be extremely frightening for patients, who often have the misconception that the Neurological Lyme Disease symptoms they are experiencing will damage their nervous system permanently.

    Actually, its possible to have neurobiological symptoms without the nervous system being damaged.

    The aim of this article is to provide you with all the information you need to identify potential Neurological Lyme Disease symptoms and know what to expect from a Neurological Lyme Disease treatment plan.

    You can jump straight through to specific sections of this article from here:

    Who Is At Risk For Complications Of Lyme Disease

    People who do not know they have been infected. So its important to check for deer ticks after outdoor activitiesespecially in the northeast or midwest parts of the country.

    Ticks sometimes bite in such inconspicuous places as the hairline or back. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics at any stage of illness to eradicate the bacterial infection. However, some people might still be at risk for lingering neurological complications if the bacteria has traveled to the tissue of the central nervous system.

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    Purify Your System Of Toxins

    A toxic environment impedes recovery from any illness. And unfortunately, chronic systemic inflammation and neurological inflammation can compromise detoxification and waste removal processes in the brain and body even further.

    Toxic substances can enter the body by three routes oral, respiration, and skin so step one is minimizing the inflow. To reduce oral toxins, avoid processed food products, and eat a fresh, whole food diet weighted toward vegetables . Clean water is also key, and is as simple as installing a water filter.

    Regularly changing your HVAC air filters and placing free-standing HEPA filters in rooms where you spend the majority of your time can go a long way toward improving indoor air quality. Breathing fresh air in natural places as often as possible can also promote healing.

    As for your skin, adopting a practice of using only natural skin care products allows you to avoid a surprising number of toxic substances commonly found in commercial skin care products. The same goes for household cleaning supplies. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource for finding toxin-free consumer products.

    Supplements that support detoxification in the body include activated B vitamins for enhanced methylation , and glutathione, NAC, and alpha lipoic acid to support cellular functions and detoxification. Dandelion and milk thistle protect the liver and stimulate bile flow, which is essential for removing toxic substances from the body.

    Neurological And Psychiatric Issues Associated With Lyme Disease And Tbrf

    What are the Best Natural Remedies for Neurological Lyme?

    Home » Tick Talk » Neurological and Psychiatric Issues Associated with Lyme Disease and TBRF

    Chronic illness often has significant impacts on mental health, and Lyme disease is no different. With the accuracy and sensitivity of todays recommended Lyme testing still so lacking, many Lyme patients have to wait too long to get accurate diagnoses and treatment. To compound this problem, many patients with Lyme-like symptoms are not even tested for the similar, but biologically distinct, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever . That gives infections time to spread throughout the body and cause neurological and psychiatric symptoms.

    This article will outline the direct and indirect effects that Borreliosis both Lyme disease and TBRF can have on mental health, including how and why untreated Lyme can develop into neurological Lyme disease.

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    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.

    What Is Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This spiral shaped bacterium is most commonly spread by a tick bite. The disease takes its name from Lyme, Connecticut. This is where the illness was first identified in the United States in 1975.

    Although Lyme disease is a year-round problem, April through October is considered tick season. Cases of Lyme disease have been reported in nearly all states in the U.S. and in large areas in Europe and Asia, but the most common areas are the Northeast, upper Midwest and northwestern states.

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