Six Years After Tick Bite Its Markand The Illnessstill Show
You see that little spot on my calf? You wouldnt think that a small bite like this would change someones life, turn it upside down, crush their goals and dreams, shake them to their core, causing immense pain and profound fatigue along with a multitude of other symptoms and issues.
That bite also caused a secondary neurological disorder which affects my heart and all body systems , as well as a brain lesion. That bite is from a tick. Yes thats a tick bite from six years ago! Out of the hundreds of people with Lyme disease that I have met, only one other had a re-appearing bite years after she was bitten. This is not very common, but it does show how resilient and chronic this bacteria can be.
I remember the day as if it were yesterday. We were at a local creek, and the tick was only attached for a few hours. My husband saw the tick, as well as my parents, and my father removed the tick for me.
A few weeks later I developed flu-like symptoms and a rash . Because my case was not a textbook diagnosis, I was sent away without even being prescribed precautionary antibiotics.
Also, I was told that we did not have Lyme disease in Georgia so the doctor refused to order a Lyme disease test. Pretty tragic that the urgent care doctors decision and lack of knowledge has affected my entire life six years later.
We need recognition, we need accurate testing, we need Lyme-literate doctors, we need understanding, we need awareness, we need a cure!
Can You Have Lyme Disease Without Knowing
The Lyme test came back positive. Greene is one of many people who dont notice early signs of Lyme disease, brush off the symptoms, or whose medical providers missed the symptoms, which often include fever, headache, fatigue, and a bulls-eye skin rash called erythema migrans, considered the hallmark of the disease.
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The Most Common Lyme Disease Blood Tests
The two most common diagnostic tests for Lyme disease are the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and the Western blot. These Lyme disease tests allow physicians to visualize the reaction between antibodies in an infected persons blood to specific antigens or parts of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
In the case of the Western blot, for example, antigens are separated by size and then transferred onto a membrane strip. When an antibody reacts with an antigen on the strip, that band will turn dark purple. For test results to be positive, a specific combination of bands on the membrane strip must be present.
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What Are The Second Stage Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The symptoms of second stage, early disseminated, Lyme disease can be difficult to attribute. Symptoms include severe fatigue, fever, pain, intermittent weakness and achiness of the muscles and joints, numbness in arms and legs, vision changes, and cognitive dysfunction such as short-term memory difficulties and problems multitasking. These symptoms are not specific for Lyme disease and can make the diagnosis of second stage Lyme disease very challenging.
More recognizable Lyme disease nervous system manifestations include facial paralysis , or meningitis with severe headache and stiff neck. Notable cardiac manifestations include passing out or feeling faint from an abnormally slow heart rate, irregular heart palpitations, or unexplained difficulty tolerating exercise. Meningitis and carditis are both potentially serious Lyme disease conditions and warrant immediate medical attention.
What Is The Treatment For Lyme Disease
The first-line standard of care treatment for adults with Lyme disease is doxycycline, a tetracycline antibiotic. Other antibiotics that have activity against borrelia include the penicillin-like antibiotic, amoxicillin, and the second generation cephalosporin, Ceftin. The mainstay of treatment is with oral antibiotics, but intravenous antibiotics are sometimes indicated for more difficult to treat cases of neurologic-Lyme disease, such as meningitis, and cases of late Lyme arthritis.
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Alternative Treatments For Lyme Disease Flare
Lyme-literate doctors are equipped with the most advanced technology to offer quick procedures that help you feel better, like intravenous vitamin and antibiotic infusions. Most antibiotics and vitamins taken orally are broken down in the digestive system, with only a percentage making it to your bloodstream.
The antibiotics and vitamins go directly into your bloodstream with intravenous infusions, where Lyme bacteria are hiding.
Additional alternative treatments for Lyme disease flare-ups include
- Chelation therapy
Lyme Symptoms: Nervous System Inflammation
byJennifer Crystalon April 26, 2021
We patients must remember that Lyme is an inflammatory disease. Flare-ups often involve increased inflammation.
Last week I had an incredibly busy schedule: I did research, had several long conversations over Zoom, taught a class, and wrote a lot. The work required a good amount of mental energy, or spoons. I also happened to have a physically busy week, running around doing errands and going to doctors appointments, as well as meeting friends for socially distanced walks.
But what Lyme patients need to do and what we want to do dont always match up.
By Thursday evening, my brain felt as if it was filling with cotton, a pressure I remember well from my acute days with Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. This should have been my cue to stop and rest. What I really needed to do was darken the lights, put on some soft music, and relax. But what Lyme patients need to do and what we want to do dont always match up. In this case, I wanted to relax by watching a favorite show, something Id been looking forward to as a reward all week. And so I watched.
Horowitz, Richard I., MD. How Can I Get Better? An Action Plan for Treating Resistant Lyme & Chronic Disease. New York: St. Martins Press, 2017 .
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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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Can You Prevent A Lyme Disease Flare
The best way to prevent a Lyme disease flare-up is by avoiding contracting Lyme disease in the first place. This can be done by always taking precautions against ticks and checking for ticks after spending time in wooded areas. Since Lyme disease is incredibly difficult to treat, and many people are often unaware that they even have it until it has had time to wreak havoc across the entire body, its especially important to avoid contracting the infection where possible.
For those who have already contracted and been diagnosed with Lyme disease, getting proper treatment is the best way to deal with, manage, and prevent Lyme flare-ups. Some tips for preventing Lyme disease from flaring up include:
- Identify your triggers by listening to your body
- Reduce stress levels by practicing stress management techniques
- Continue with proper Lyme disease treatment
- Practice good sleep hygiene so you have the best chance at getting good-quality sleep
- Avoid the consumption of sugar and alcohol
- Rest if you dont feel well
- Find a mental health provider that may help you cope with the symptoms of the disease and prevent any mental changes from worsening
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Common Misconceptions About Lyme Disease:
1. If a dog tests positive for Lyme disease, it means she has it.
2. Dogs are much more likely than people to become ill from Lyme disease.
3. A dog infected with Lyme disease will tend to start showing symptoms within a month, and sometimes within the first 18 hours.
4. Dogs can transmit Lyme disease to people.
5. Lyme disease strikes only in warm weather.
A lot of times, a dog will test positive for Lyme disease, and her owners get nervous that their pet is sick and needs treatment, but the dog is fine. How can that be?
Its because testing positive for Lyme simply means that antibodies to the illness have been detected in the dogs blood. It does not mean that the animals body is actually being affected by the disease. How can that be?
The fact that a dog can test positive for Lyme disease yet not actually have it in a way that matters has led to a lot of nervous owners, and sometimes, even veterinarians who have over-treated. To clear up the misconceptions, heres what you need to know.
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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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How Are Dogs Tested For Lyme Disease
Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.
The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called C6. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness.
The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary.
The Elisa And Western Blot Are Not Sensitive Enough
Another major limiting factor of the traditional ELISA and Western blot is the quality. These tests tend to use lysed BB cultures, and therefore, depending on the culture conditions, some antigens are over-expressed, and some are under-expressed. This, in turn, can affect the ability to detect antibodies from patients blood.
Whats more, if a patient tests too early after a tick bite, his or her body may not have produced enough antibodies to show up on a test with suboptimal sensitivity.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Dormant For Years
Lyme disease can remain dormant for weeks, months or even years. When symptoms do eventually develop, they can be severe and patients often need aggressive treatment. Intravenous treatment is often required to treat late-stage infection. Late-stage treatment can last many months as seen in other infections as well.
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What Can Be Done To Prevent Lyme Disease Flare
The first key to living with Chronic Lyme disease is finding a doctor and treatment regimen that works for you. Treatment and methods of prevention through lifestyle are different for every patient. However, there are some general guidelines, which anyone with Chronic Lyme could follow to promote a healthier lifestyle and thus, less flares.
Lyme disease is a sad fact of the world we live in. Chronic sufferers face a lifetime of health maintenance and treatment. Lyme disease flare-ups can really affect physical and emotional well-being.
Consider year-round tick control for the prevention of Lyme, and seek immediate medical attention if you believe you have been bitten by an infected tick.
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Does Lyme Cause Thyroid Problems
Some evidence suggests that Lyme disease can lead to thyroid problems. As seen above, one of the late-stage symptoms of this chronic illness is hormonal imbalances and deficiencies.
Researchers know that chronic illness and prior infections can cause thyroid problems like and Hashimoto’s disease. Inflammation of the thyroid gland is the hallmark sign of autoimmune thyroid disease. Because Lyme disease is a system-wide infection, leading to tissue inflammation in whatever organ it infiltrates. When the thyroid becomes inflamed, it struggles to produce enough thyroid hormone. The body needs thyroid hormones to regulate metabolism in the form of blood pressure, blood temperature, and heart rate.
It is relatively common for people with Lyme disease to develop Hashimoto’s. Some doctors may test their patients for Lyme disease if they have Hashimoto’s and struggle to manage symptoms. There is a lot of overlap between Lyme disease and Hashimoto’s disease, adding to the complexity of these two health conditions.
Lyme Disease And Mental Illness
This is all frightening information. Remember that most people with Lyme disease dont experience mental health complications. However, if you begin experiencing mood swings or mental health symptoms that are uncharacteristic for you, speak with your healthcare provider immediately. In addition, try to find a practitioner that specializes in Lyme disease and therefore has a more nuanced understanding of your symptoms.
You might consider talking to a trusted loved one about the mental and emotional effects of Lyme disease. That person can help you know when you might be experiencing these symptoms, and can help connect you with help.
Finally, whether or not youre experiencing mental health symptoms, living with Lyme disease can be emotionally taxing. Online support groups can connect you with other people living with Lyme disease who will understand your challenges and be able to share what has worked for them.
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What Triggers A Lyme Disease Flare
In some cases, a Lyme disease flare-up can be triggered by outside factors. For people with chronic Lyme disease, each trigger will be different because the body reacts differently to the borrelia bacteria.
Some common triggers for a Lyme disease flare-up can include:
- Emotional stress driven by grief, an accident, or a big life change such as divorce
- Physical stress on the body, such as a surgery or physical injury
- Other types of infections, such as cold or flu
- General exhaustion
- Eating a diet high in processed sugars and alcohol
- For those who menstruate, having a menstrual period could trigger a flare-up
- Not getting enough good-quality sleep
- Changes to routine or travelling
- Treatment changes
While many of these triggers cannot be avoided, some are preventable and can help you reduce the risk of having a Lyme disease flare-up.
Image by Bermix Studio on What does a Lyme disease flare-up feel like?
Living With Lyme Disease Felt Like Being Unable To Pull Up The Blinds On The Window And See The Sky
Living with Lyme Disease felt like being unable to pull up the blinds on the window and see the sky. I could still get through my day and moderately take care of my children, but I had no sense of a life beyond what was right in front of me, nor the ability to imagine one.
Its hard to say exactly how my chronic Lyme developed. Id taken antibiotics for a bullseye rash in 2002 but never experienced any symptoms until after the birth of my second child in 2010. Did I get another tick bite? Did the stress of the pregnancy trigger the fatigue and brain fog which came on with a vengeance after Id seen an osteopath for a regular postpartum adjustment? Did that treatment release some long-dormant bacteria back into my bloodstream?
What matters is that I felt like a shell of myself. For years. Going up stairs left me out of breath, something I wouldnt have believed possible when Id run a ten-miler one weekend and a half-marathon back-to-back, just a few months before getting pregnant. If I had to carry my baby or wear her in a sling, my endurance was even lower. Walking uphill to get my older child at the bus stop required significant recovery before I could even fathom starting to make dinner. If I attended a PTA meeting on a Tuesday and a parenting talk on Thursday, I was exhausted for days.
For now, Im thrilled to no longer feel like Im swimming through jello, finally able to move freely through the world.
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What Is The History Of Lyme Disease
Interestingly, the disease only became apparent in 1975 when mothers of a group of children who lived near each other in Lyme, Conn., made researchers aware that their children had all been diagnosed with joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis. This unusual grouping of illnesses that appeared as “rheumatoid” eventually led researchers to the identification of the bacterial cause of the children’s condition, which was then named “Lyme disease” in 1982.
The only vector for Lyme disease in the U.S. is the black-legged tick, or deer tick, known as Ixodes scapularis. These ticks are carriers of the Lyme disease spirochete in their stomachs Ixodes ticks may also transmit the Powassan virus. The ticks are vectors that can transmit the bacterium to humans with a tick bite. The number of cases of tick-borne illness in an area depends on the number of ticks present and how often the ticks are infected with the bacteria. In certain areas of New York, where Lyme disease is common, over half of the ticks are infected. Lyme disease has been reported most often in the northeastern United States, but it has been reported in all 50 states, as well as China, Europe, Japan, Australia, and parts of the former Soviet Union. In the United States, it is primarily contracted in the Northeast in the states from Maine to Maryland, in the Midwest in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in the West in Oregon and Northern California. What those children actually had was Lyme arthritis.