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If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, and have been unsuccessful in finding effective treatment or lasting relief, Dr. Heyman treats patients at his integrative medicine practice: the Virginia Center for Health and Wellness in Aldie, Virginia. For an appointment with Dr. Heyman, please call & phone , or contact us online today.
Blacklegged Ticks In Toronto
The risk of acquiring Lyme disease in Toronto overall is believed to be low. However, the risk for exposure is highest in wooded, busy areas where blacklegged tick populations are established. Personal protective measures should be taken when visiting these areas.Ticks are found in wooded or bushy areas with lots of leaves on the ground or where there are tall grasses. Blacklegged ticks are not usually found on lawns, mowed grass, sports fields or paved areas.
Ticks cannot fly or jump. Instead they wait for a host , resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs. If a person brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it quickly climbs aboard. It then finds a suitable place to bite. Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but, if found, may be in hard-to-see areas such as the armpits, groin and scalp.
Ticks are small, ranging in size from a poppy seed to a pea . The size of the tick varies depending on its life stage and whether it has fed recently. The nymphal stage typically occurs during the summer months and is the stage most responsible for human infections. This is due to their very small size which prevents people form noticing them on their body. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease bacteria, but they are larger and therefore more likely to be discovered and removed before they have had time to transmit the bacteria.
If you find a tick on your body, it can be removed with fine-tipped tweezers.
Do not squeeze or try to burn it off
Finding A Good Lyme Doctor
I was one of the lucky ones.
After over a year of my general doctor running tests and sending me to different specialists, I tentatively questioned if Lyme disease might be worth investigating.
My doctor agreed: it was a good idea. But he also admitted that he knew the tests were terribly unreliable and Id need a good Lyme doctor to help me figure out if this was indeed causing all of my mysterious symptoms.
He referred me to a colleague who helped guide me through the early stages of Lyme testing and getting my diagnosis.
Ill forever be grateful for my doctors honesty. He knew he didnt understand Lyme well enough. He knew certain tests were sadly unreliable. And he was gracious enough to help me search for answers when most doctors would have scoffed.
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Are There Lyme Disease Home Remedies
Health departments in areas with high rates of infection have undertaken campaigns to raise public awareness and educate the public on facts about Lyme disease.
- It is known that certain outdoor areas are highly infested with deer ticks and should be avoided if possible — these include woods and brush areas.
- Generally, the tick counts on suburban lawns are much lower.
Lyme disease should never be treated with home remedies alone. Antibiotics are needed to cure the illness, however, some home remedies may help ease symptoms as you recover. Consult a doctor before taking an herbal supplement or natural remedy as they may interact with medications you already take or may cause unwanted side effects.
- Doctors will treat primary or early Lyme disease with oral antibiotics, including doxycycline , cefuroxime , penicillins, amoxicillin , or erythromycin . In early stages, the disease can be curable with just this antibiotic treatment.
- Pregnant women are usually treated with penicillins or erythromycin. Doxycycline is generally avoided as it may affect the development of the fetus.
- Doctors may treat late-stage cases of neurological, heart, or arthritic Lyme disease with intravenous antibiotics in the hospital or as an outpatient.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be recommended to help relieve pain and inflammation.
The Different Types Of Doctors Who Can Test For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a tick-borne infectious disease caused by a group of spiral-shaped bacteria we now refer to as Lyme borreliae. This includes, but is not limited to, Borrelia burgdorferi. It is treatable with antibiotics, but in order to have the best chance at full recovery, its crucial to get your disease diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. That means finding the right doctor.
But what kind of doctor tests for Lyme disease? You may be wondering if you need to see a specific kind of physician to get the right test and treatment. The answer can depend on your particular situation.
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What Are Risk Factors For Developing Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs most frequently in children 5-14 years of age and adults 40-50 years of age. The most substantial risk factor for Lyme disease is
- exposure to the ticks located in the high-risk areas of the country listed above,
- particularly in the New England states,
- as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Additional risk factors include recreational and occupational exposure to ticks and outdoor activities, including
- gardening, in woods, and
- fields in the high-risk areas.
No transplacental transmission of Lyme disease from the mother to the unborn child has ever been described. Again, Lyme disease is not contagious from one person to another.
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.
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What Is A Lyme
A LLMD is a physician whose experience with Lyme disease patients makes them familiar with the vast range of symptoms, co-infections, and complications associated with the disease at various stages. Because of this knowledge and expertise, many patients also find LLMDs more open-minded and understanding of their experiences, especially if theyre having a hard time getting an accurate diagnosis from another physician.
But how do you know if you need to see a LLMD? Below are some common reasons, any or all of which may apply to you.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
In most cases, the more quickly a patient is treated, the better the chances are for recovery. In the early stages of infection, before any potential neurological complications, oral antibiotic drugs will be prescribed to kill the infectiona combination of doxycycline and amoxicillin.
For Lyme disease that has begun to affect the nervous system, there is strong evidence that parenteral antibiotics work well to combat infection. These parenteral antibiotics include ceftriaxone, cefotaxime, and penicillin.
If neurological symptoms persist for months after initial treatment, patients will be treated with antibiotics again. But patients will not be treated with antibiotics for more than four weeks, because there is no evidence that prolonged treatment improves the symptoms of lingering neurological complications.
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Are Llmds Infectious Disease Specialists
No. While it is possible for a LLMD to be an infectious disease specialist, LLMDs can come from any field or background. Many LLMDs are general practitioners or family doctors, while others may specialize in a specific type of medicine, such as naturopathic medicine.
For more information on finding a LLMD, read IGeneXs blog How to Find Doctors Who Can Help with Your Tick-Borne Disease.
When Lyme Disease Becomes Chronic
In some people, treatment with antibiotics doesnt alleviate symptoms, and 5%-30% of people develop chronic symptoms, a condition known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . A 2019 study in BMC Public Healthestimated that nearly 2 million people are living with chronic symptoms of Lyme disease.
In a 2017 study with 61 PTLDS patients and 26 healthy controls in Frontiers in Medicine, 50% of the chronic Lyme disease patients reported severe fatigue, 31% had severe sleep issues, 28% suffered from severe pain, 23% struggled with severe cognitive issues. By comparison, the healthy controls reported no severe symptoms.
People with chronic Lyme disease struggle with a host of neuropsychological symptoms, including memory problems, trouble with focus, impulsivity, poor problem-solving, slower mental processing speed, addictive behaviors, changes in personality, suicidal thoughts, and more, according to Filidei.
Traditionally, the medical community has dismissed the fact that infections can be associated with these types of symptoms, but that is changing. A 2016 editorial in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease written by a worldwide group of 33 scientists suggested the medical community has been neglecting to look at infectious diseases as a root cause of many memory problems, including Alzheimers disease and other dementias.
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What Are The Best Tests For Lyme Disease
The DNA Connexions test identifies co-infections common to Lyme disease. MacTech Imaging picks up where the DNA Connexions test leaves off by giving doctors an idea of a patients overall microbial load. Each saliva sample is scanned for spirochetes and then given a graded score.
These two unique tests allow us to proceed confidently with treatment. Post-treatment analysis informs doctors as to whether a patient is clear.
Is There Such A Thing As Chronic Lyme Disease
Chronic Lyme disease is considered controversial. Patients who are finally diagnosed with CLD are often discouraged, to say the least, with the medical community. It often takes years to be diagnosed, and that is if they run across a Lyme-literate doctor. With Google at peoples fingertips, more patients are being diagnosed and treated than ever before. But the controversy keeps escalating. Many traditional doctors do not believe in CLD. And, if they do, they frown upon long-term antibiotic therapy. This is where Dr. Dane agrees with the more widespread medical community.
Knowing that spirochete populations can cause nerve damage in the body, the question that must be asked is, Can Lyme disease lead to brain disorders? The simple answer is a resounding yes. Some research suggests links between Lyme disease and Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, autism, dementia, and a range of other psychiatric conditions.
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Who Treats Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to people by deer ticks. Lyme disease can cause different symptoms, depending on how long youve had the infection. And symptoms of can come and go, making it seem like youre betterand making it harder to figure out when you were first infected.
All of this can make Lyme disease complex for healthcare providers to diagnose and treat. If you think you have Lyme disease, look for providers who have experience treating the condition, especially in areas where Lyme disease is more common. In the United States, this includes the northeastern coast and the upper Midwest.
Healthcare providers who treat Lyme disease include:
Do Doctors Prescribe Amoxicillin For Lyme
A doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics during the early stages of Lyme disease. For adults and children over 8 years of age, a doctor may prescribe a 10-21-day course of doxycycline. For younger children, and pregnant or women who are breastfeeding, a doctor may prescribe a 14-21-day course of amoxicillin or cefuroxime.
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They Treat Lyme Disease Holistically
Lyme literate physicians approach their patients with a holistic understanding of their health and lifestyle. In their Lyme disease screenings, Lyme literate physicians ask patients if they partake in any activities which make them at greater risk for contracting Lyme such as gardening, hiking, and travelling to remote areas where there are other types of ticks. They also consider whether the patient lives in a Lyme epicenter such as upstate New York or Connecticut. As with conventional doctors, their screening process involves ruling out any other possible conditions.
Lyme literate doctors know how to manage each patients immune system throughout the treatment. They monitor the immune system to see that it responds properly to treatment protocols. Depending on the patients needs, they can prescribe customized pharmaceutical and herbal treatments. In this way Lyme disease specialists help patients to adjust to medical interventions at their own pace. This approach to chronic Lyme treatment is only possible with a Lyme literate doctor.
What Kinds Of Neurological Problems Are Caused By Lyme Disease
Typically, three main neurological complications develop in people with untreated Lyme disease.
- Cranial neuropathy: If the infection affects nerves of the face, some patients might experience cranial neuropathyor dysfunction of the peripheral nervescausing drooping or swelling. The most common form of cranial neuropathy is Bells palsy, which is muscle drooping on one side of the face.
- Meningitis: If the bacterial infection reaches the meninges, or the tissue lining the brain and spinal column, it may cause inflammation and tissue damage. Patients with meningitis are likely to experience fevers, headache, fatigue, and stiff neck.
- Radiculoneuritis: If the bacterial infection reaches the nerve root, or the part of the nerve cells that attaches to the central nervous system , it can cause severe pain, numbness, and other abnormal sensations.
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Lyme Disease Prevention And Treatment
The summer is prime time for deer ticks to spread Lyme disease across Connecticut and most of the northeast. A warmer fall due to climate change means ticks will continue to pose a threat well into September and October.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection discovered by two Yale physicians in 1975. When a group of children developed knee pain around Lyme, Connecticut, they suspected they were dealing with a new illness.
Joint or muscle pain is now recognized as one of the common symptoms of Lyme disease. Other symptoms can include fever, chills, swollen glands, heart palpitations, facial weakness and the classic bullseye rash. However, Yale New Haven Health infectious disease specialist , said that rash only looks like a bullseye in about one out of 10 patients. It can be a long time before some people develop any symptoms at all.
Lyme is typically broken down into three stages of infection and the last stage is called late or late disseminated Lyme and that can actually show up years after you get the initial tick bite, Dr. Grant said.
What Is Lyme Disease
This bacterial infection is spread through the bite of a young deer tick or black-legged tick. These eight-legged creatures, about the size of a poppy seed, can be found in wooded and grassy areas throughout the United States, especially in New England and the Rocky Mountains.
Because these ticks are so small, most people donât realize when theyâre bitten. But the longer a tick stays attached to you, the more likely it is to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi , if the tick is a carrier.
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Lyme Literate Doctors Acknowledge The Vast Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme literate doctors and traditional doctors treat Lyme disease very differently. Both prescribe antibiotics, but Lyme literate doctors prescribe a longer dose of 20 days. IDSA guidelines recommend a single dose following a tick bite. ILADS doctors assess whether the patient has recovered after 20 days of antibiotic treatment. If a full recovery has not occurred, then the patient will need further monitoring, testing, and treatment in order to prevent conversion to chronic Lyme disease.
Lyme literate doctors incorporate herbs and other medications into their treatment methods, especially if a coinfection is present. They also acknowledge the relationship between Lyme disease and other preexisting conditions, tailoring their treatment approach to suit individual patient needs and tolerability.
Lyme disease specialists acknowledge that their patients symptoms are legitimate and may be connected to chronic Lyme disease. In traditional medicine, symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and mood changes are often dismissed as stress-induced. Because Lyme disease specialists validate their patients symptoms and confirm the diagnosis with appropriate testing, they are able to start the treatment process much sooner. Early intervention is critical because it prevents tick-borne bacteria from multiplying and spreading infection throughout the body further worsening the condition.
What Are Lyme Disease Causes And Risk Factors
B. burgdorferi bacteria cause Lyme disease. The bacteria have a complex life cycle, spending part of their life in the deer tick and part in some mammals such as mice and deer.
Humans are not a part of the bacterium’s life cycle but can become infected when bitten by the tick. Lyme disease is not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person.
While dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there are no reported cases of these animals spreading the disease to their owners. However, dogs and cats can bring the infected ticks into the home, which is one reason why tick protection for pets is important. Talk to a veterinarian about the right type of tick control for any pets.
Risk factors for getting Lyme disease include the following:
- Living in the northeastern or Midwestern U.S. states where the disease is most prevalent
- Being outdoors in the woods or areas that have tall grass, shrubs, or brush
- Fishing, camping, hunting, yard work, hiking, and other outdoor activities in tick-infested areas
- Having bare, unprotected skin when outdoors in high-risk areas
- Pets who are not protected against ticks may bring them indoors.
- Not removing attached ticks promptly
- Swollen lymph nodes
- General feeling of being unwell
The initial infection can occur with minimal or no signs or symptoms. But many people experience a flu-like primary illness or a characteristic rash several days to a few weeks following a tick bite. This rash may feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful.
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