Do I Need To See An Infectious Disease Specialist To Get Tested For Lyme Disease
No, you do not need to see an infectious disease specialist.
As noted above, any type of physician should be able to order the correct diagnostic tests, interpret your test results, and provide antibiotics to treat Lyme disease. This is especially true the earlier the disease is caught.
In fact, American Lyme Disease Foundation points out that waiting for an appointment with an infectious disease or other type of specialist can actually delay your diagnosis and treatment. If you were bitten by a tick, notice symptoms of Lyme disease, or believe youre at risk for Lyme or another tick-borne disease, its important that you make an appointment with a doctor immediately even if its your primary care physician.
That said, there are plenty of reasons why you may want to consult with, or get a second opinion from, someone with specific experience with Lyme disease. In other words, you may want to make an appointment with a Lyme-literate doctor . Read on to learn more.
I Dont Think That Any Of The Extreme Approaches To Lyme Disease Diagnosis And Treatment Are Justified
If the disease is chronic and there are neuropsychiatric manifestations, I use a test panel that detects antibodies against several elements of the central nervous system. . I treat those patients with a low dose of penicillin by weekly injection. Its a benign treatment that has a lot of success if its given as a monotherapy, without any other antibiotics.
We dont know exactly why this treatment works, but one of the theories is that the residual spirochetes in our body that probably perpetuate the autoimmune process are not detecting the low-dose penicillin. So, its a stealth method of killing the spirochetes that upregulate the autoimmune process.
It is very important to treat patients symptoms and support them emotionally. Many times the emotional support will combine counseling and psychopharmacology. It is also important to send patients with sleep complaints for a sleep study. Ive found late onset narcolepsy in some of my Lyme patients. Late development of attention deficit confirmed by neuropsychological testing should be addressed pharmacologically with stimulants. Pain management is important and should be done properly, avoiding opiates as much as possible.
What about boosting the immune system?
How does the patient-doctor relationship come into play in treating Lyme?
Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms
In the first 30 days after the infecting tick bite, the telling symptom of Lyme disease is the Erythema migrans rash, which begins at the site of the bite and expands up to 12 inches, creating somewhat of a “bullseye” appearance. It is seldom painful or itchy, but may feel warm to the touch. It can appear on any area of the body however, not all people who have been infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria experience this rash, which then often results in a delay in treatment.
Other early symptoms often present flulike and may include:
- Numbness, tingling or shooting pain in hands and feet
- Brain fog and even severe cognitive impairment
Some studies suggest chronic Lyme disease symptoms in women more often seem to continue post-treatment. Chronic Lyme disease is a more common diagnosis among women than men. Whether there is a higher incidence of chronic Lyme among women, or whether they are being misdiagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, is the question. The fact is, misdiagnosis is common since women present similar symptoms when they actually suffer from an autoimmune disease. It may be instead that women with chronic symptoms of Lyme Disease are suffering from a severe immune response brought on by the illness. Understanding the disease’s sometimes catastrophic and chronic impact in women’s bodies is an ongoing subject for study.
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Why You Might Need To See A Llmd:
- Your Lyme disease test results were negative, but you still have symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Youve been treated for Lyme disease in the past but still have symptoms, which could indicate chronic Lyme disease.
- Youve been treated or are being treated for common misdiagnoses of Lyme disease, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but your symptoms havent gone away.
- Your physician doesnt believe in Lyme disease, chronic Lyme disease, or Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.
Even patients who dont fall into the above categories may simply feel safer in the hands of a LLMD who is familiar with the various ways Lyme and other tick-borne diseases present themselves.
A Minor Fluctuation In Subjective Visual Interpretation Can Entirely Alter A Patients Health Outcomepotentially Leading To Chronic Illness Which Is Then Denied As A Chronic Illness
Since this visual inspection is subjective and varies from one technician to the other, it is not surprising that sometimes Ill get three different blot results of the same patients blood sample .
I use a laboratory that analyzes the optic density of the band with a machine, so its more reliable, and I also have a picture of the blot sent to me so I dont have to solely rely on someone elses interpretation. Still, as mentioned, Ive seen three Western blot tests from the same patient come back with three different bands reports that indicate alternating positive and negative results. This test is supposed to be what doctors use to determine how and whether to treat patients or not! A minor fluctuation in subjective visual interpretation can entirely alter a patients health outcomepotentially leading to chronic illness, which is then denied as a chronic illness. So, I read those blots a little more liberally when patients are presenting with symptomsIm looking for shadows, visible lines, that might indicate that there was some antibody activity against spirochetes. A band cannot be there unless there are antibodies against the particular spirochetal protein. So if it is 1 percent below the cutoff number, shouldnt it be counted? This can make all the difference for a patient.
Whats your approach to treating Lyme?
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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Treatment will depend on whether the infection is active. If it’s active, then treatment depends on what stage it is at and how severe it is.
Lyme disease in the earliest stage is treated with antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks. Later stages may need up to 4 to 8 weeks of antibiotics. Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic used. In some cases, you may need to take amoxicillin, cefuroxime, or ceftriaxone.
Treatment will also be considered based on these and other factors:
If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms
If you are bitten by a tick and are pregnant
If you are bitten by a tick and live in a high-risk area
What kind of tick you are bitten by
If the tick has taken a blood meal
How long the tick has likely been on your body
Ketamine Treatment For Lyme Disease Near Los Angeles California
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected tick. Although most cases of Lyme disease syndrome can be cured with antibiotics, 10%-15% of patients can sometimes experience symptoms that linger long after antibiotic treatment has been completed. This condition is often referred to as chronic or persistent Lyme disease or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .
Intravenous ketamine therapy has been shown to be effective at relieving pain that does not respond well to other treatments. As a leading IV ketamine specialist and provider, Neuro Wellness Spa with locations near Los Angeles has helped many patients struggling with Lyme disease.
IV ketamine therapy is coordinated by Dr. Martha Koo, Neuro Wellness Spas Medical Director. She is an active member of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians. A leading authority on psychiatric disorders for over 20 years, Dr. Koo is passionate about using IV ketamine to help her patients find relief from treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders and chronic pain conditions.
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Psychiatric Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
All of the neuropsychiatric issues mentioned above are considered symptoms of Lyme disease. In fact, 70% of people with Lyme disease say they experience negative changes in memory and mental sharpness. In some people, Lyme disease can also cause paranoia, mania, obsessive compulsive tendencies, anxiety, depression, and hallucinations. But many healthcare professionals are unaware of the debilitating psychiatric effects of the disease. For this reason, many people are treated with medications that dont help, and in many cases, produce harmful side effects that make things worse.
Who Is At Risk For Infection
In the United States, the disease is mostly localized to states in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and upper north-central regions, and to several counties in northwestern California.
The number of annually reported cases of Lyme disease in the United States has increased about 25-fold since national surveillance began in 1982, and a mean of approximately 12,500 cases annually were reported by states to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1993-1997.
Most B. burgdorferi infections are thought to result from exposure to infected ticks during property maintenance, recreation, and leisure activities. Thus, individuals who live or work in residential areas surrounded by woods or overgrown brush infested by vector ticks are at risk of getting Lyme disease.
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Mitchell L Hoggard Pharm
A pharmacist by training, Mitch Hoggard pioneered the field of home infusion therapy and was the founder and president of an international home infusion company. As the president of a hyperbaric treatment center, Mr. Hoggard has published research on treatment of stroke, Crohns disease and Parkinsons disease. He turned his attention to tick-borne illnesses when his children became infected with Lyme disease. Mr. Hoggard is a frequent lecturer to physicians and patients on the subject of antibiotic therapy for Lyme. While leading companies in several other industries, Mr. Hoggard continues to devote much time to research, education, and treatment of Lyme disease.
Raphael Stricker Md Lymediseaseorg Medical Director
San Francisco, California
Dr. Stricker received his medical degree and training in Internal Medicine at Columbia University in New York. He did subspecialty training in Hematology/Oncology at the University of California San Francisco, and supplemental training in Immunology and Immunotherapy at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He is currently the Medical Director of Union Square Medical Associates, a multispecialty medical practice in San Francisco.
Dr. Stricker is a member of the American Society of Hematology , the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies , the American Federation for Medical Research , the American Society for Reproductive Immunology , the American Society of Microbiology , the American Academy of HIV Medicine . He was past president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society . He serves on the Lyme Disease Advisory Committee that advises the California Dept. of Public Health. He has received the American Medical Association Award for Physician Excellence, and has authored over 200 medical journal articles and abstracts. Areas of special interest include immunologic infertility, immunodeficiency, coagulation disorders and tick-borne diseases.
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Carolyn Cooper Degnan Chief Operating Officer
San Francisco, California
Carolyn Cooper Degnan has been an active volunteer in the Lyme community since 2005. She has a strong leadership and operations background in both non-profit and for-profit businesses. Her former leadership roles include: Pres/CEO of the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce, President of the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation, owner of Degnan Insurance Agency and as a member several other non-profit Boards. She also has extensive non-profit event management and fundraising experience in addition to a strong operations background. Most recently she was the Practice/Business manager for a prominent West Coast LLMD before coming to LDo in 2018 as the new COO.
Be Prepared For Your Doctor Visit
You can improve your chances of having an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment by providing your doctor with as much information as you can from the very start. The following checklist can be a good reminder of what to bring and discuss with your physician at your first visit:
- Have the tick tested and/or identified:If you were able to remove or find the tick that bit you, seal it in a glass or plastic container and consider sending it to IGeneX for testing. Additionally, photograph the tick and/or have the species identified ahead of time if possible. Knowing what kind of tick bit you and, in particular, whether it has tested positive for a tick-borne disease can be extremely helpful for your doctors diagnostic process. If the tick is still being tested when you see your doctor, you still may be able to start treatment based on the severity of your symptoms.
- Note possible exposure: Write down the places and dates that you believe you were exposed to ticksand the possible date and time of day when the engorged tick attached and fell off or was removed.
- Track your symptoms: Keep a running log of all symptoms youve noticed since the tick bite, even if youre no longer experiencing them. Be sure to include the days/times when symptoms appeared . For additional help, you can use IGeneXs Symptom Checker.
- Take pictures: Take pictures of any rashes or blisters that you may have noticed at the site of the tick bite or elsewhere on your body.
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How Is Lyme Disease Identified
If you don’t have the target-shaped red rash , but you’re experiencing symptoms, what’s next? Three to four weeks after your symptoms appear, the doctor will order a blood test to see if you have antibodies against the bacteria. There are two types of blood tests, the ELISA, and the Western Blot. The Western Blot is ordered when the ELISA blood test is inconclusive.
If you are experiencing nervous system symptoms, the next step in diagnosing you is performing a spinal tap, where spinal fluid is removed from your spinal canal to detect brain and spinal cord inflammation, and search for Lyme disease bacterium in your spinal fluid.
What Is Ketamine Iv Therapy
Millions of people suffer from chronic and debilitating physical and psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression. However, many of these conditions may stop responding to medications, like anti-depressants, and other therapies. IV ketamine therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for people who suffer from treatment-resistant:
- Chronic pain
Physicians have used Ketamine for over 50 years as an anesthetic. However, new research indicates its effectiveness in other applications too.
Researchers at Mass General Hospital conducted the largest study of IV ketamine therapy. They found that over 70% of patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression experienced symptom relief with IV ketamine therapy. This study, along with a growing number of others, is a major finding that demonstrates the effectiveness of IV ketamine for those who have tried standard treatments but havent responded adequately.
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Lyme Disease Graced Pastor Dan With Empathy And A Second Career As A Photographer
Dan Price is a 42-year-old married father serving as the Executive Pastor of a church located in Bend, Oregon. The Price family began a relationship with Lyme disease in 2012 when Pastor Dan began to suffer a long-term fever and fatigue that progressed to brain fog, short term memory loss, anxiety, and depression. He treated with 5 doctors before he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. After his diagnosis, his symptoms continued to progress and Pastor Dan lost hope that he would heal from Lyme disease until 2 members of the Lyme social media community recommended a doctor practicing outside of Detroit, Michigan. Shortly after Pastor Dans health began to improve, his wife and family rock was diagnosed with acute Lyme disease. Pastor Dan suspects that he unknowingly infected his wife with Lyme through sexual contact. The final chapter of the Pastors healing journey required EMDR therapy with a brain injury focused therapist. Today, Pastor Dan and his wife have attained remission from Lyme disease. If you would like to learn more about how a Pastor and his family have recovered strength from weakness inflicted by Lyme disease, then tune in now!
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What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria transmitted through bites from infected deer ticks. On the West Coast, black-legged ticks also transmit Lyme disease. Anyone can get Lyme disease, but it is especially prevalent in younger children and older adults.
Everyone who spends time outdoors near woods or grassy parks is at risk of exposure to a bite from an infected tick. Often, the tick bite is painless and unnoticeable because the insect is so small. It can stay attached to your skin for several days, and the longer it stays, the higher your risk of getting the infection directly into your bloodstream.
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If The Deeds Been Done
Check yourself, your children and your pets daily for ticks, especially behind ears and in armpits, scalp and groin. If you see one and remove it within a day, youll greatly reduce the chances of getting Lyme disease, as the bacterium needs about 36 hours to be transmitted from tick to host. Using fine-tipped tweezers, grab the tick close to your skin and pull up steadily.
Then, keep an eye out for symptoms of Lyme disease. A classic bulls-eye rash appears in about 70%-80% of infected people. The rash, called erythema migrans, usually occurs within three to 30 days of a tick bite, says Emily Blodget, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Keck Medicine of USC and a clinical associate professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Its not painful, but it expands over the next few days. Other symptoms to watch for include headache, fatigue and muscle and joint pain.
Your doctor can confirm whether youve contracted the infection and, if so, begin treating it. While early Lyme disease can be diagnosed if the typical rash is present, blood and bodily fluid tests are the mainstay of diagnosis, Blodget says.
She adds that if the disease has been caught early, its typically treated with oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, for up to three weeks. If its more severe, with heart and nervous system involvement, intravenous antibiotics may be necessary, she says.