Chronic Lyme Dos And Don’ts
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.
Abnormal Sensations In The Limbs
A possible complication of Lyme disease is peripheral neuropathy, which signals dysfunction in the communication between nerves. Lyme-related neuropathy can cause odd sensations in different parts of the body, especially the limbs. Some people feel sharp, stabbing pains, burning sensations, tingling, and even numbness.These symptoms are common to many diseases, which is one more reason affirmative Lyme disease diagnoses are often delayed.
Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is also found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Other things that might increase a person’s risk include:
- spending a lot of time outdoors in tall grass, brush, shrubs, or wooded areas
- having pets that may carry ticks indoors
- activities such as yardwork, hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting in tick-infested areas
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What Is The Most Accurate Test For Lyme Disease
Although there are at-home kits for Lyme disease, a blood test is still the most accurate way to diagnose this health condition as it is performed by experts in the field. Here are two blood tests you can order online or book in labs near you.
This test often uses Western blot or immunoblot to identify antibodies produced when the causative bacteria infect the tissues. These antibodies are released by immune cells, specifically against Lyme diseases pathogen . During the immunoblot, the antibodies are isolated from the blood sample and matched accordingly.
You can order an antibody test online and choose from an immunoblot blood test or Ab with reflex to blot blood test.
The ELISA test follows the same principle as that of the immunoblot test. It also detects antibodies associated with Borrelia burgdorferi. However, because the test can produce false negative and positive results, it is typically taken together with the Western blot for further verification. When choosing the most accurate test, consider the most efficient option and the symptoms you experience. Your doctor may recommend taking both tests to identify the causative agent. Likewise, getting both ELISA and western blot blood tests increases the accuracy of Lyme disease diagnosis by 99.9%.
Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Acute And Late Stage Lyme
One reason chronic Lyme disease is harder to detect and treat than Lyme at earlier stages is that chronic Lyme disease symptoms are more wide-ranging and varied. Chronic Lyme disease can cause symptoms of early Lyme disease such as fatigue and muscle aches to recur, but it can also cause new symptoms that affect different parts of the body.
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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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Legal Mandates To Cover Unproven Treatments
The state of Connecticut, meanwhile, enacted a law on June 18, 2009, “to allow a licensed physician to prescribe, administer or dispense long-term antibiotics for a therapeutic purpose to a patient clinically diagnosed with Lyme disease.” The states of Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maine, and Iowa have similar laws.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island have laws mandating insurance coverage for long-term antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease when deemed medically necessary by a physician. In 1999 Connecticut had passed a similar, though somewhat more restrictive law.
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What Do You Do If Theres A Tick Under Your Skin
Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick are still in your skin, try to get those with the tweezers, too. After everything is out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
You probably wonât get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.
How do you throw away a tick?
Put it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.
Effects Of Untreated Lyme Disease
When left untreated, Lyme disease can be debilitating. When it isnt treated early, it can spread and go into hiding in different parts of your body. Weeks, months, or years later, it can cause problems with your brain, nervous system, heart and circulation, digestion, muscles or joints, reproductive system, or your skin. While symptoms may disappear randomly, other ones may appear at different times. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease or chronic Lyme disease.
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Unraveling The Mystery Of Lyme Disease
Vol. 53 No. 4
Monitor on Psychology53
Long before the SARS-CoV-2 virus was linked to a syndrome we now call long COVID, researchers and clinicians were already debating over how to best assist patients experiencing lingering symptoms from Lyme disease. For reasons that are unclear, 10% to 20% of people who contract Lyme disease report ongoing or intermittent symptoms at least a year after completing antibiotic treatment, including fatigue, muscle aches, difficulties with memory, irritability, and other symptoms, according to a review of the research .
For patients, these ongoing and sometimes debilitating symptoms can erode their quality of life, potentially leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. But over the past few decades, researchers have also determined that the tick-borne infection itself, along with related inflammatory and other physiological effects, may directly cause mental health disorders.
One recent study, conducted by researchers from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Copenhagen Research Centre for Mental Health, found that patients who received a hospital diagnosis of Lyme disease had a 28% higher rate of mental disorders and were twice as likely to have attempted suicide postinfection than individuals without a Lyme diagnosis .
Long Term Symptoms Lyme Disease
After the first stage with immediate symptoms, a phase follows in which the bacteria spreads through the body.
When an infection with the Borrelia bacteria is not treated, it can lead to a multisystem disease in the long term. This means that bacteria affects multiple parts of the body. The longer the infection goes untreated, the more damage the bacteria can do.
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Which Organs Are Affected By Lyme Disease
The organs affected by Lyme varydepending on the severity of the illness and how early it is caught andtreated. In the early stages, the disease attacks mostly the immune system,compromising its ability to fight off the infection. As the disease spreads, itdoes so throughout the entire body, affecting every organ it reaches.
As Lyme can affect all the organs in thebody, it can cause a variety of problems. The symptoms that occur with Lyme diseasecan also mimic other conditions, like the flu as mentioned above, or moreserious conditions such as ALS/MND , MS , fibromyalgia, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and over 300 otherconditions.
Image by on : The spread of Lyme disease bacteria cells works a lot like the cells of the immune response.
What Is Late Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is caused by an infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is disseminated through tick bites. Infected ticks usually bite small mammals, who do not develop any kind of infection from the bacteria. When humans are exposed to B. Burgdorferi from a tick bite, however, they can develop Lyme disease.
People who work outside or spend time in woodland areas, where there is greater potential for exposure to tick bites, are most at risk of infection.
Lyme disease is a condition which progresses in stages:
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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 don’t 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.
Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.
These symptoms are often compared to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Its not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means theres also no agreed treatment.
Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.
The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:
- referral for a care needs assessment
- telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
- communicating with children and families social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
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Early Detection Is Key
Lyme disease is easiest to treat at the early or acute stage, within the first 30 days of exposure. This is why its so important to take precautions to prevent tick bites, both during and outside of tick season. Protect yourself when near potential tick habitats, always perform tick checks after outdoor activity , and dont delay seeking medical attention if you notice any symptoms that might be related to tick-borne illness. Its important to get tested as soon as possible for the best chances of recovery.
How Long Does Lyme Disease Last
Lyme disease symptoms can begin anywhere from three to 30 days after transmission of the infection from a tick. If treated early on with antibiotics, most people feel better within a few weeks, says Dr. Zemel.
According to the CDC, its not uncommon for people to experience lingering symptoms like fatigue and joint or muscle pain for a few weeks or months after treatment. Additional antibiotics wont help these symptoms, however, and most people improve on their own over time.
In a small percentage of cases, people continue to experience symptoms for more than six months after their recommended course of antibiotics is completed. This is sometimes referred to as chronic Lyme diseasebut that name is misleading, says Dr. Kuritzkes, because there is no evidence that the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is still present in the body. Instead, the CDC refers to this condition as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .
As with many other kinds of infectious diseases, some people are left with some debilitating symptoms that dont go away, says Dr. Kuritzkes. I like to compare it to polio: Some people who had polio are left paralyzed, but that doesnt mean they have chronic polio they have permanent damage from the infection, even after its gone away.
Its possible that Lyme infection leads to some damage that we dont fully understand yet, Dr. Kuritzkes adds. But we do know that long-term or repeated courses of antibiotics have no benefit in these cases.
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What Happens If Lyme Disease Goes Untreated For Years
If Lyme disease goes untreated for years, youll suffer its long-term effects, which include chronic joint inflammation, heart problems , psychological disorders, sleep problems, memory loss, and nerve damage. Moreover, since Lyme disease has a multisystemic impact, it is highly likely to infect several organs.
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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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.
Complications Of Untreated Lyme Disease
If unchecked, the Lyme disease infection can spread to other bodily systems, causing significant damage. Untreated, complications of this condition can be very severe:
- Arthritis:Prolonged infection with Lyme disease leads to chronic joint inflammation and swelling, usually in the knees . These symptoms tend to arise within two years of infection, with periods of flare-ups and remissions. This arthritis is relatively difficult to manage, though antibiotics and steroids may be attempted.
- Lyme carditis:If the bacteria reach the heart tissues, they can cause inflammation and lead to heart block. The electrical signals being sent between the upper and lower chambers of the heart are interrupted, impairing the coordination of the heartbeat. Though disruptive, this is rarely fatal.
- Lyme neuroborreliosis:Inflammation of multiple nerves, including those in the spine and brain, is the chief characteristic of this condition. This can also affect the meningesthe layer of tissue surrounding the brain and spineleading to meningitis, among other conditions. Antibiotic therapy, if applied promptly, tends to be effective as a treatment.
Even in cases where Lyme disease has progressed, antibiotic regimensespecially drugs like doxycyclineare generally successful in resolving problems.
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The Cortisol Connection: Are You Addicted To Your Pain
Cortisol, the stress hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, connects the limbic system to the rest of the body via the HPA axis. Chronic stress in the form of Lyme co-infections keeps the HPA axis functioning over time leading to cortisol addiction .
An autopilot cortisol addiction forces the body to remain in an eternal state of survival mode with unceasing PTLDS inflammation and chronic pain.
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Potential Treatment For Lyme Disease Kills Bacteria That May Cause Lingering Symptoms Study Finds
Screening thousands of drugs, Stanford scientists determined that in mice, azlocillin, an antibiotic approved by the Food and Drug Administration, eliminated the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Deer ticks are vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.Scott Bauer/USDA Agricultural Research Service
For decades, the routine treatment for Lyme disease has been standard antibiotics, which usually kill off the infection. But for up to 20% of people with the tick-borne illness, the antibiotics dont work, and lingering symptoms of muscle pain, fatigue and cognitive impairment can continue for years sometimes indefinitely.
A new Stanford Medicine study in lab dishes and mice provides evidence that the drug azlocillin completely kills off the disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi at the onset of the illness. The study suggests it could also be effective for treating patients infected with drug-tolerant bacteria that may cause lingering symptoms.
This compound is just amazing, said Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory at the Stanford School of Medicine. It clears the infection without a lot of side effects. We are hoping to repurpose it as an oral treatment for Lyme disease. Rajadas is the senior author of the study, which was published online March 2 in Scientific Reports. The lead author is research associate Venkata Raveendra Pothineni, PhD.
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