What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.
The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red bullseye rash.
If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.
Background And Diagnosis Of Borrelial Lymphocytoma
Borrelial lymphocytoma is a rare cutaneous manifestation of Lyme disease in Europe, which presents as a solitary bluish-red swelling with a diameter of up to a few centimeters . The most common site of borrelial lymphocytoma is the ear lobe in children and the breast, on or near the nipple, in adults. Mild, localized discomfort often accompanies the skin lesion. Borrelial lymphocytoma is characterized histologically by a dense polyclonal and predominantly B lymphocytic infiltration of the cutis and subcutis, frequently with germinal center formation . Borrelial lymphocytoma may be the only sign of Lyme disease or merely one of several manifestations during the course of the illness. It often appears near the site of a prior tick bite and frequently arises in the vicinity of a previous or concurrent erythema migrans lesion, but compared with erythema migrans, it usually emerges later and lasts longer .
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
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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Background And Diagnosis Of Cardiac Manifestations Of Lyme Disease
Patients with symptomatic cardiac involvement associated with Lyme disease usually present with the acute onset of varying degrees of intermittent atrioventricular heart block, sometimes in association with clinical evidence of myopericarditis . Electrophysiologic studies have usually demonstrated block occurring above the bundle of His, often involving the atrioventricular node, but heart block may occur at multiple levels . Severe or fulminant congestive heart failure or development of valvular heart disease is not associated with Lyme disease . In the United States, there is no convincing evidence that Lyme disease is a cause of chronic cardiomyopathy .
Because of the potential for life-threatening complications, hospitalization and continuous monitoring are advisable for symptomatic patients . These interventions are also suggested for patients with second- or third-degree atrioventricular block, as well as for those with first degree heart block when the PR interval is prolonged to 30 milliseconds, because the degree of block may fluctuate and worsen very rapidly in such patients .
Hunting For Alternative Drug
Frustrated by the lack of treatment options for Lyme disease patients with lingering symptoms, Rajadas and his team began hunting for a better alternative in 2011. In 2016, they published a study in Drug Design, Development and Therapy that listed 20 chemical compounds, from about 4,000, that were most effective at killing the infection in mice. All 20 had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for various uses. One, for instance, is used to treat alcohol abuse disorder.
In this most recent study, azlocillin, one of the top-20 contenders, was shown to eclipse a total of 7,450 compounds because it is more effective in killing B. burgdorferi and causes fewer side effects. Lyme disease affects more than 300,000 people annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can affect various organs, including the brain, skin, heart, joints and nervous system, and cause heart problems and arthritis if untreated. Symptoms include fever, headaches, chills, and muscle and joint pain.
Traditional antibiotics, such as doxycycline, are effective as an early course of treatment for the infection in the majority of patients, but it remains unclear why these drugs fail to treat 10% to 20% of patients, Rajadas said.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Cured
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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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.
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Tick Bites And Prophylaxis Of Lyme Disease
The best currently available method for preventing infection with B. burgdorferi and other Ixodes speciestransmitted pathogens is to avoid exposure to vector ticks. If exposure to I. scapularis or I. pacificus ticks is unavoidable, measures recommended to reduce the risk of infection include the use of both protective clothing and tick repellents, checking the entire body for ticks daily, and prompt removal of attached ticks before transmission of these microorganisms can occur .
Infectious Diseases Society of AmericaUS Public Health Service Grading System for ranking recommendations in clinical guidelines.
Doxycycline is relatively contraindicated in pregnant women and children < 8 years old. The panel does not believe that amoxicillin should be substituted for doxycycline in persons for whom doxycycline prophylaxis is contraindicated because of the absence of data on an effective short-course regimen for prophylaxis, the likely need for a multiday regimen , the excellent efficacy of antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease if infection were to develop, and the extremely low risk that a person with a recognized bite will develop a serious complication of Lyme disease .
Ixodes scapularis ticks demonstrating changes in blood engorgement after various durations of attachment. A, Nymphal stage . B, Adult stage. The pictures are a generous gift from Dr. Richard Falco .
Treatment For Chronic Lyme Disease
Sometimes, people go through treatment for Lyme disease but their symptoms donât go away. If this lasts over 6 months, itâs known as chronic Lyme disease or âpost-treatment Lyme disease syndromeâ .
Doctors still arenât sure why some people get PTLDS. Some believe that getting Lyme disease may cause damage to your tissues or immune system. Others believe itâs because the bacteria that causes Lyme hasnât completely gone away.
There is little evidence that taking more antibiotics at this stage will help. They may actually be harmful. Instead, your doctor will focus on treating the symptoms youâre still having. This will be different for everyone. Some people could benefit from a medicine that relieves fatigue, while others may need a drug that can help with headaches or very sensitive skin.
Your doctor could also have you try a treatment that helps people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
More research is needed to figure out how best to treat PTLDS. Itâs something that can be frustrating. Just remember: Many people who have this condition do start feeling like their old selves after a few months.
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What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection
There are three stages:
- Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
- Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
- Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.
About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.
Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.
How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
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Prevention Of Tick Bites
The best currently available method for preventing infection with B. burgdorferi and other Ixodes-transmitted infections is to avoid tick-infested areas . If exposure to either I. scapularis or I. pacificus ticks is unavoidable, a number of measures may help to decrease the risk that ticks will attach and subsequently transmit infection. Frequent visual inspection of skin and clothes may help to identify ticks prior to attachment, thus allowing removal before infection can be transmitted. Attached ticks should be removed promptly, preferably with the aid of fine-tip forceps . If a portion of the mouth parts of the tick remains embedded in the skin, only topical disinfection of the site is suggested, because attempts to remove this material can cause tissue damage and are unnecessary as the risk of Lyme disease is unaffected.
Use of protective clothing may interfere with tick attachment by increasing the time required for ticks to find exposed skin, thus facilitating their recognition and removal. Wearing light-colored clothing to provide a background that contrasts with the tick is often recommended as a common sense precaution to enhance the ability to see and remove ticks before attachment. A recent study, however, suggested that an Ixodes tick species present in Europe may be more attracted to light-colored than darker-colored clothing . These findings require confirmation before any change in recommended practice should be considered.
What Are The Risk Factors For Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Risk factors for Post Treatment Lyme Disease include:
- Delay in diagnosis
- Increased severity of initial illness
- Presence of neurologic symptoms
Increased severity of initial illness, the presence of neurologic symptoms, and initial misdiagnosis increase the risk of Post Treatment Lyme Disease. PTLD is especially common in people that have had neurologic involvement. The rates of Post Treatment Lyme Disease after neurologic involvement may be as high as 20% or even higher. Other risk factors being investigated are genetic predispositions and immunologic variables.
In addition to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there are several other tick-borne co-infections that may also contribute to more prolonged and complicated illness.
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What Is Chronic Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. In the majority of cases, it is successfully treated with oral antibiotics. In some patients, symptoms, such as fatigue, pain and joint and muscle aches, persist even after treatment, a condition termed Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome .
The term chronic Lyme disease has been used to describe people with different illnesses. While the term is sometimes used to describe illness in patients with Lyme disease, it has also been used to describe symptoms in people who have no clinical or diagnostic evidence of a current or past infection with B. burgdorferi . Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, and the lack of a clearly defined clinical definition, many experts in this field do not support its use.
Which Areas Are More Likely To Have It
The tick that causes Lyme disease has been moving from the Northeast and upper Midwest into the Southern and Western U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Cases in California and Florida are on the rise. After a drop between 2017 and 2018, the numbers jumped a little bit in 2019.
But most Lyme cases in 2019 were in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC, is also a hotspot.
In 2019, Pennsylvania had the most Lyme infections, with 6,763. New York was next, with 2,847 cases.
In the Southern U.S., where itâs hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they don’t dry out. This means people donât get Lyme from Southern ticks very often because they don’t usually come out to bite.
Even though people only report about 30,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year, there are actually around 476,000 a year. The same tick also can spread other diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus. Those diseases are also on the rise in the U.S.
Whoâs likeliest to get Lyme disease?
Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thatâs because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.
Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?
There are several reasons why Lyme is spreading. Some of these are:
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How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine for Lyme disease. But you can avoid Lyme disease by avoiding tick bites, checking for ticks, and removing ticks promptly, before they become lodged in the skin. Some tips:
Avoid tick playgrounds: Ticks like low-level shrubs and grasses, particularly at the edges of wooded areas. If youre hiking, try to stay in the center of the trail and avoid bushwhacking. Walk on cleared paths or pavement through wooded areas and fields when possible.
Dress appropriately: Long pants with legs tucked into socks and closed-toed shoes will help keep ticks away from skin. Light-colored clothing helps make ticks visible.
Insect repellant: Products that contain DEET repel ticks but do not kill them and are not 100 percent effective. Use a brand of insect repellent that is designated as child-safe if your child is 1 year or older. For infants, check with your pediatrician about what brands are safe to use. You can also treat clothing with a product that contains permethrin, which is known to kill ticks on contact.
Shower after outdoor activities are done for the day. It may take four to six hours for ticks to attach firmly to skin. Showering will help remove unattached ticks.
- all parts of the body that bend: behind the knees, between fingers and toes, underarms and groin
- other areas where ticks are commonly found: belly button, in and behind the ears, neck, hairline, and top of the head
- anywhere clothing presses on the skin
Lyme Disease Treatment In Humans
In this blog, we will look at treating Lyme Disease. You will learn:
- What the standard treatment for Lyme Disease is and how successful it typically is
- What are the possible approaches that we can use to treat symptoms of Lyme Disease
- How Functional Medicine can help to successfully treat Lyme Disease
Do you suffer from Lyme Disease and do you know how to treat it? Has your treatment for Lyme Disease been successful? If you are struggling with these issues, then this blog is for you. Please read on for the details!
** Please note: If you want the longer, more detailed version of this article, then please click here **
What is Lyme Disease?
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Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early. These can include:
- pain and swelling in the joints
- nerve problems such as numbness or pain in your limbs
- memory problems
- difficulty concentrating
Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment. But they can persist if treatment is started late.
A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens. It’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.
Primary Management Options Considered
For persons who remove attached ticks, the management options considered included treating with antimicrobials: all persons, only persons believed to be at increased risk of developing Lyme disease , only persons who develop erythema migrans or other clinical signs and symptoms of a tickborne infection, and all persons who seroconvert from a negative to a positive test result for serum antibodies to B. burgdorferi. Management of bites by the vector ticks I. ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus was not considered by the panel, because these tick species are not present in North America.
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