What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. In humans, this infection can only be spread via parasitic tick bitesânot air, water, or other animals.
With 34,945 diagnosed cases in 2019, Lyme disease is not exactly rare. Thatâs why itâs important to know which conditions allow the infected tick to pass this disease to humans, such as:
- Location â Where is Lyme disease common? In the US, the black-legged tick and the western black-legged tick can transfer Lyme disease. These species are found in grassy and wooded environments across the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, upper Midwest, and upper Pacific coast.
- Season â Like most insects, ticks thrive during the warmer months. Lyme disease transmission and diagnoses go up during spring, summer, and early fall.
- Timing â To spread the bacteria, infected ticks must latch onto the body for at least 36 hours. Thatâs why most humans are infected by nymphs, or small immature ticks, which can go incognito on the body. If you remove a tick before 36 hours, you may reduce the risk of infection.
Once transmitted, Lyme disease can manifest in a few different symptoms. Letâs explore the signs to look for, so you can catch the condition early.
Blood Tests For Antibodies
Blood tests for detecting antibodies to B. burgdorferi are most reliable several weeks after infection has occurred and are rarely of value during the first 7 to 10 days of illness. During these initial days of infection, these tests can give false negative results .
Most authorities, including the CDC, recommend a 2-step testing process for Lyme disease:
- EIA Test. The first test used is an enzyme immunoassay . The EIA measures IgM and IgG antibodies to the B. burgdorferi spirochete. Positive results from this test still require confirmation with a Western blot test, since the EIA test is often positive even when there has been no infection. Negative results do not require further testing.
- Western Blot or second EIA test. If the EIA test is positive or uncertain, it is followed by the Western blot test. This test is more accurate and is very helpful in confirming the diagnosis but is more expensive and takes longer to complete. The Western blot creates a visual graph showing bands of IgM or IgG antibodies that laboratories use to interpret the immune response. More recently, recommendations have changed to allow for a second EIA in place of the confirmatory Western blot .
- V1sE . This newer FDA-approved test detects a specific component within the EIA IgG antibodies and is being increasingly used instead of the Western Blot to confirm a positive EIA test. Since it is less expensive and more rapidly completed, it may ultimately replace the Western Blot test.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
A healthcare provider will diagnose Lyme disease based on symptoms, physical findings and whether or not you’ve been in an area populated by infected ticks.
Many people dont remember or know that theyve been bitten by a tick. This is because the tick is tiny, and its bite is usually painless.
Your provider will confirm the diagnosis using a blood test. If your first blood test is negative for Lyme disease, you won’t need another test. If the first test is positive or equivocal, your provider will conduct the test again. You have to have two positive results to be diagnosed with Lyme disease.
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Can Lyme Disease Change Your Personality
To some degree, Lyme disease can change your personality, specifically your mood, energy level, and cognition. The condition affects the psychological state of a person due to the inflammation it causes to certain parts of the brain.
As a result, the cognitive function becomes disrupted, so crucial neurotransmitters are not adequately produced. Moreover, several behavioral changes manifest, like paranoia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, and anorexia nervosa.
Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by ticks. When you are outdoors, follow these guidelines:
- Avoid areas that are wooded, brushy, or have tall grass.
- Walk in the center of trails.
- Use an insect repellent with at least 20% DEET. It can be put on clothing or sparingly on the skin. Dont apply it to the face or hands of children.
- Treat clothing, tents, or other gear with repellents containing 0.5% permethrin.
- Wear light-colored clothing. This makes it easier to see and remove ticks from your clothes.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots for added protection.
After you get home, check everything and everyone for ticks.
- Bathe or shower as soon as you can to wash off any ticks that have not attached to you.
- Check your entire body for ticks. Use a mirror for places you cant see. Check your children and your pets. Common tick locations include the back of the knees, groin area, underarms, ears, scalp, and the back of the neck.
- Check any gear you used, including coats, backpacks, or tents.
Tumble dry clothes or blankets on high heat in the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes. This should kill any ticks. If clothes are dirty, wash them in hot water and dry on high heat for 60 minutes.
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Lyme Disease And The Cdc
In order for the Centers for Disease Control to recognize a Lyme case for surveillance purposes, there must be objective findings, such as positive blood tests, Bells palsy or joint swelling . The chart below reflects the CDC-reviewed surveillance case manifestations from 2001 to 2010.
This situation contributes to what many experts view as severe undercounting of Lyme disease by the CDC.
Scientists Think Theyve Unlocked The Secret Of Long
Scientists may have discovered a new way of tackling the lingering, debilitating effects of Lyme disease, the tick-borne illness that can lead to flu-like symptoms and a rash called erythema migrans.
The latest research suggests that dead fragments of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, continue to hang around in the body and can cause unhealthy inflammation in the central and peripheral nervous systems even after treatment.
This might explain why some people who get Lyme disease dont make a full recovery after a few weeks of taking antibiotics instead, they experience ongoing pain, fatigue, and trouble with their cognitive thinking, a condition known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome .
About 10-35 percent of patients treated for erythema migrans or early Lyme disease have persistent or intermittent musculoskeletal, cognitive, or fatigue complaints of mild to moderate intensity at 6 to 12 months of follow up, write the researchers in their .
Other notable symptoms include joint pain, headache, lower back pain, irritability, paresthesia, sleep issues, and depression.
Patients with PTLDS usually get better eventually, but it can take a long time for people to feel fully well again. Theres currently no proven treatment for the condition, as there is for Lyme disease itself.
The research has been published in Scientific Reports.
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Getting A Correct Diagnosis
Diagnosing Lyme is often a complicated process, most physicians are not adequately qualified to identify Lyme disease and the common tests used to confirm a Lyme diagnosis can report incorrect results 50% of the time . To make matters more complex, Lyme patients with neurological symptoms are often misdiagnosed with neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Parkinsons disease, or even worse, their symptoms are dismissed altogether. The symptoms that they are experiencing are frustrating and maddening, especially when they are being told its all in your head. The struggle to find the right diagnosis is extremely draining for patients who are already facing depression, brain fog, memory loss, tremors, and other crippling symptoms.
At Envita our doctors and staff are highly trained in identifying Lyme disease our physicians utilize a proprietary PCR diagnosis protocol which allows them to not only accurately diagnose Lyme disease, but be able to monitor the Lyme infection and co-infection levels in the body throughout treatment. While this technology is still in research-and-development and is currently only available at Envita, it is proving to be a vitally important diagnostic tool for our Lyme patients. Correctly diagnosing the disease is always the first step in reaching a solution and at Envita we understand the importance of quickly and accurately diagnosing our patients.
Borrelia Releasing Neurotoxins in the Brain
Importance Of The Study
The LymeProspect study shows that some Lyme patients remain limited in their physical and social functioning after treatment with antibiotics. In addition, fatigue, pain and concentration problems are reported more often by people with Lyme disease than by people without this disease: about 27% of the Lyme patients and 21% to 23% of the people without this disease. Also, the complaints of the Lyme patients were more severe. It is likely that such long-term symptoms may be the result of Lyme disease, but only in a small but substantial proportion of patients. It is important to acknowledge persistent symptoms and to obtain a better understanding of the causes of these symptoms. This can help prevent complaints and improve treatment.
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Symptoms Of Early Stage Lyme Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , early-stage Lyme disease symptoms crop up within 3 to 30 days after exposure and can include but are not limited to:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans , a bulls-eye-shaped rash that appears at the site of the tick bite
Early Lyme disease does not always appear the same in all patients. For example, up to 30% of patients dont remember experiencing a bulls eye rash.
Thuja Homeopathic Treatment For Delusions As A Result Of Lyme Disease
The homeopathic medicine Thuja is prepared by using the leaves and twigs of the thuja plant. Thuja tree belongs to the Cupressaceae family. Out of five, two species of Thuja trees are found in North America and the remaining three species are found growing in eastern regions of Asia. Thuja is a well-indicated remedy for delusions and has given good results in Lyme disease patients who have fixed ideas and delusions in later part of the disease. Delusions as if a strange person is by the side and delusions as if the body were fragile are present. There is dullness of mind with sadness. The person feels depressed, isolated and alone.
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease
Most of the people who get Lyme disease and receive treatment early will be fine. Treatment can cure Lyme disease but you might still have some long-term effects. Untreated Lyme disease may contribute to other serious problems but its rarely fatal.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
Even after proper treatment, some people may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. The symptoms dont mean that you still have an infection. PTLDS probably wont respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms that resolve at some point over the next six months.
Chronic Lyme disease
Chronic Lyme disease is a term used by some for a condition in a person who had Lyme disease and the symptoms of PTLDS. Some people consider chronic Lyme disease to be the same as PTLDS. However, some people receive a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis without a Lyme disease diagnosis. Sometimes, extended treatment with antibiotics helps.
This term may be why some people think a Lyme disease infection can occur without being bitten by a tick. There isn’t enough proof that mosquitoes can transmit Lyme disease. Many researchers dislike using the term chronic Lyme disease.
Where Is Lyme Disease Prevalent
LD is spreading slowly along and inland from the upper east coast, as well as in the upper midwest. The mode of spread is not entirely clear and is probably due to a number of factors such as bird migration, mobility of deer and other large mammals, and infected ticks dropping off of pets as people travel around the country. It is also prevalent in northern California and Oregon coast, but there is little evidence of spread.
In order to assess LD risk you should know whether infected deer ticks are active in your area or in places you may visit. The population density and percentage of infected ticks that may transmit LD vary markedly from one region of the country to another. There is even great variation from county to county within a state and from area to area within a county. For example, less than 5% of adult ticks south of Maryland are infected with B. burgdorferi, while up to 50% are infected in hyperendemic areas of the northeast. The tick infection rate in Pacific coastal states is between 2% and 4%.
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For Animals That Have Not Been Vaccinated Can Osp A Values Be Positive How Should This Be Interpreted
Antibodies to OspA have previously been interpreted as markers for vaccination. Non-vaccinated animals usually have low values for antibodies to OspA, while vaccinated animals develop these antibodies. OspA antibodies have been shown to protect from infection with B. burgdorferi.
However, there is accumulating evidence that antibodies to OspA can occur without vaccination. First, residual OspA is present on the bacterial surface at the time of transmission to an animal. This causes a low and transient OspA antibody response early after infection. Second, antibodies to OspA have also been associated with treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis and with development of autoimmunity in human patients. Similarly, OspA antibodies in non-vaccinated dogs or horses can be considered as markers of chronicity and disease severity.
How Do I Remove A Tick
You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.
If you find a tick:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your skin.
- Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. If part of the tick stays in your skin, don’t worry. It will eventually come out. But call your doctor if you notice any irritation in the area or symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Note: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won’t get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.
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Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Post
Patients typically use the term chronic Lyme disease to describe the cluster of symptoms that started after getting Lyme disease and that persist despite having received a course of antibiotic treatment which has been deemed curative by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Patients say, “I’m not cured. I have symptoms now that I never had before Lyme disease. I’m fatigued 90% of the day. My muscles ache. My brain is in a fog. I can’t think clearly any more. I’m super sensitive to light and sound. What is going on? Chronic Lyme disease does exist – I’m a living example of it!”
Whatever one calls it, the experience is the same. Most often these patients experience profound fatigue, pain, and/or cognitive impairment. Mild to moderate levels of depression and anxiety may also accompany these symptoms, as the functional limitations can lead to social isolation, inability to work, and loss of sense of one’s identity as a provider, caretaker, or friend. Sometimes patients find themselves identifying with Job – the just and good man in the Bible whose life was wrecked by illness, death of loved ones, and economic disaster he felt tormented by God.
Can You Get Lyme Disease Twice
You can be reinfected with Lyme disease if a carrier tick bites you for the second time. You may notice the same symptoms, especially the rash that looks like a bullseye .
On the other hand, Lyme disease flare-ups, or the tendency to experience the same symptoms even without getting exposed to deer ticks, indicates chronic Lyme disease.
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Who Is At Risk For Lyme Disease
Anyone can get a tick bite. But people who spend lots of time outdoors in wooded, grassy areas are at a higher risk. This includes campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and parks.
Most tick bites happen in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But you can get bitten in the warmer months of early fall, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. And if there is a mild winter, ticks may come out earlier than usual.
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Chronic Lyme Dos And Donts
Chronic Lyme disease is an ongoing Borrelia burgdorferi infection that can involve any body system or tissue. The infection produces a wide range of symptoms and signs, which can be debilitating for some patients. Common symptoms include severe fatigue, migratory musculoskeletal pain, headaches, and impaired memory. Unfortunately, chronic Lyme disease is complex and often misunderstood, which means that many patients will struggle to obtain the care they need to regain their health. Every patient concerned about Lyme disease and tick-borne illness should know the following.
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Important Signs Of A Heart Attack
According to the CDC, 610,000 Americans die because of a heart attack every year. Unfortunately, many people dont realize what is happening to them or call for help until it is too late. Heart attacks can manifest differently in women than in men, sometimes sidestepping traditional symptoms altogether. If you think you are experiencing a heart attack, seek emergency medical attention immediately by calling an ambulance or going to the ER. The sooner it gets caught, the higher the chance of survival.