So When Do You Need Blood Tests For Lyme Disease
In some cases, you can have Lyme disease without the rash. Or you may not see the rash before it goes away on its own.
In these cases, your doctor should ask you about your medical history and do a thorough physical exam. Your doctor should look for these signs that you might have Lyme disease:
- You were in an area with ticks and Lyme disease.
- You also have fever or redness, warmth, and swelling in one or a few joints at a time usually the knees, shoulders, or wrists.
Other symptoms can occur later on. Talk to your doctor about testing and treatment choices.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Is There A Blood Test For Lyme Disease
If your doctor suspects that you have Lyme disease, they may order two blood tests. These will look for signs that your body is trying to fight it off. The results are most precise a few weeks after youâve been infected.
These tests are:
ELISA test. This test canât check for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. It can only look for your immune systemâs response to it.
Although itâs the most common way to check for Lyme disease, the ELISA test isnât perfect. It can sometimes give false âpositiveâ results. On the other hand, if you have it done too soon after youâve been infected, your body may not have developed enough antibodies for the test to detect them. This will give you a ânegativeâ result even though you do have Lyme disease.
Western blot test. Whether your ELISA test comes back positive or negative, your doctor will need to do this blood test, too.
A Western blot uses electricity to split certain proteins in your blood into patterns. This is then compared to the pattern of people known to have Lyme disease.
At least five band matches means that you have Lyme disease. Still, not all labs have the same standards. Thereâs a chance that you could get a âpositiveâ result from one and a ânegativeâ result from another.
- Alzheimerâs disease
Testing For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease spread by ticks can be diagnosed with a simple blood tests in your veterinarians clinic. The C6 test is very sensitive and specific at diagnosing cases of Lyme disease and depending on clinical signs and concurrent results, treatment may be started immediately. If treatment has been successful, reductions in the QC6 at six months should be lower than the starting point.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.
The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.
The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. Its not usually hot or itchy.
The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.
Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- tiredness and loss of energy
Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later.
This is more likely if treatment is delayed.
These more severe symptoms may include:
- pain and swelling in joints
- nerve problems such as pain or numbness
- heart problems
- trouble with memory or concentration
The Blood Tests Can Have False Positives
The blood tests can trigger false positives, suggesting that you have the disease when you really dont. This can happen in up to one out of four tests.
This can lead to unnecessary treatment with antibiotics. These drugs are usually safe, but they sometimes cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. In rare cases, they can even cause dangerous allergic reactions.
Using too many antibiotics can also lead to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. This means that bacteria in your body may get stronger and more difficult to treat with antibiotics in the future.
A false positive can also lead to more unneeded blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, and doctor visits.
If you have a false positive, you may not get treated for the real cause of your pain. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes joint pain. It can lead to permanent and severe joint damage if you do not start taking the right medicines as early as possible.
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Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Late disseminated Lyme disease occurs when the infection hasnt been treated in stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 can occur months or years after the tick bite.
This stage is characterized by:
- arthritis of one or more large joints
- brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, which can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, problems with following conversations and sleep disturbance
- numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet
Is There Any Proof For The Claims That Are Made By Both Sides Of The Controversy
There is a ton of clinical and scientific evidence available regarding Lyme disease. As with anything, you can find someone to support your position no matter what it is these days. Again, research who or what is behind it. If it is a corporation or entity that stands to make money or lose their reputation, you may want to consider the validity of the information. Look for conflicts of interest.
There are people that are suffering severely from this disease. There is evidence that Chronic Lyme exists and persists as an infection. The truth behind the disease is undeniable when you research it. On the other hand, there are also people claiming to have the cure for Lyme disease when there clearly is no cureyet. Use your best judgment when it comes to information you find. If it doesnt make sense, it probably isnt true. For more information please go to the Controversy page and the Resources page.
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How To Prevent Post
While you may not be able to prevent post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, you can take precautions to prevent coming into direct contact with infected ticks. The following practices can reduce your likelihood of getting Lyme disease and developing persistent symptoms.
If a tick bites you, contact your doctor. You should be observed for 30 days for signs of Lyme disease. You should also learn the signs of early Lyme disease and seek prompt treatment if you think youre infected. Early antibiotic intervention may reduce your risk of developing chronic symptoms.
The signs of early Lyme disease can occur from 3 to 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. Look for:
- a red, expanding bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite
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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A Bit Of Background: The Two Camps Of Lyme Disease
Basically, the Lyme controversy is divided between two camps: those who believe lingering symptoms are due to an autoimmune response, and those who believe it is from a persistence of infection itself.
Citing studies funded by the National Institutes of Health , the CDCs stance is that Lyme disease is really hard to catch and that a cure involves just a few weeks of antibiotic treatment. Although the CDC recognizes that Lyme symptoms can last for more than six months it maintains that chronic Lyme only affects a small percentage of cases and patient complaints are more autoimmune in nature than a case of persistent infection.
On the other side of the conversation sit patients, advocacy groups like LymeDisease.org, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Lyme Action Network and The Mayday Project, and a minority of doctors, who see Lyme disease as a persistent infection and consider it a complex and chronic illness. This side recognizes that although some symptoms may be the result of an autoimmune condition, that autoimmune condition was most likely driven by a small amount of bacteria that remained after the initial antibiotic treatment. Treatment for chronic Lyme is considered complex and may require different combinations of antibiotics, and for prolonged periods of time.
Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian
If your dog has a positive Lyme test but no symptoms of the disease or protein in the urine, ask your veterinarian why he or she is recommending treatment. Experts currently recommend against antibiotic therapy under these circumstances because the dogs immune system is holding the bacteria in check and antibiotics are unable to eliminate the infection.
Dogs who have contracted Lyme disease do not develop prolonged, protective immunity and can be reinfected at a later date. Talk to your veterinarian about how best to prevent future infections. Options include measures to prevent the ticks that carry Lyme disease from biting your dog and Lyme vaccination.
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.
My Doctor Doesnt Believe In Lyme Disease What Do I Do
If you go to see your doctor because you believe you have contracted Lyme disease and your doctor says they do not believe in or do not treat Lyme disease, go to another doctor. Specifically, go to a Lyme Literate Doctor . Early diagnosis and proper treatment are critical for success with this disease.
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Pans & Lyme Disease Dr Delaney
Lyme disease, PANS, and the Columbia University Lyme & Tick-borne Research Center.
Shannon L. Delaney, MD, Director, Child and Adolescent Evaluation, Lyme & Tick-borne Research Center, is a neuropsychiatrist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center who is co-investigator with Brian Fallon, MD on studies of adults and children with Lyme disease. Her clinical research has focused on immune and infectious contributions to psychiatric disease, especially psychosis in children and young adults. She specializes in seeing children and adults with complex neuropsychiatric presentations, especially those with suspected Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses, as well as those with Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome . Dr. Delaney provides assessments and a detailed referral with treatment recommendations for children and young adults with complex neuropsychiatric presentations due to a variety of infectious and immune causes of neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Delaneys profile
Gabriella: First, I would like to thank Dr. Delaney for being a member of the ASPIRE Professional Advisory Board. Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and talk about Lyme disease, PANS, and the Columbia University Lyme & Tick-borne Research Center.
Gabriella: So, who is treating your patients that you consult with?
Gabriella: Lets talk about testing. What labs are you currently using for Lyme and co-infections?
Gabriella: Can a treatment trial be used to form a clinical diagnosis?
What Is The Significance Of Band 41 On The Igm And Igg Western Blot It Is Not Lyme Specific And The Cdc Requires More Bands To Be Present Before A Diagnosis However It Is A Band For Bacteria So What Else Could Cause That To Be Positive If Not Lyme
The 41 kd band is often found on the Western blot. We did a study where we looked at the banding patterns of patients with chronic Lyme disease and healthy controls from the inner city of NY who have never had Lyme disease. We found that a large percentage of the healthy controls tested positive on the 41kd band. For that reason, we dont feel the 41kd band has much clinical signfiicance in guiding us as to whether a person has been exposed to the agent of Lyme disease. One reason a positive 41 kd band might emerge is that our mouths contain non-pathogenic spirochetes it is conceivable that some may seed the blood stream periodically and lead to the positive 41kd immune responses.
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How Can People Prevent Lyme Disease
There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease however, there are three approaches to preventing Lyme disease.
- Try to stay out of woodlands and brush areas where the tick thrives, especially during the peak season of summer and early fall.
- Wear garments that will create barriers to the tick attaching to the skin and biting.
- Tuck pant legs into socks so ticks cannot easily crawl the short distance from the ground to just above the sock line. Wear light-colored clothing to better identify ticks.
- The application of the insecticide DEET to clothing and skin has been found to decrease tick bites and the chance for Lyme disease infections.
- Deer ticks need to remain attached to the skin for about 24-48 hours to transmit the Borrelia bacteria to the skin. Inspect all areas of the body after outdoor activity.
- If you notice a bite, it is very important to watch for symptoms, which usually show up in about three weeks.
- Ticks attach to areas that are warm and moist, such as
- the groin,
- the underside of a womans breasts, and
- the neck and hairline.
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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.
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In General Tick Borne Disease Or Lyme Disease Should Be Treated With Antibiotics Usually These Antibiotics Should Be Pharmaceuticals Although Augmentation With Botanical Antibiotics Can Be Even More Effective Than Pharmaceutical Therapies Alone
Unfortunately in late Lyme, antibiotics alone are often not sufficient. Some patients are genetically or epigenetically predisposed to chronic Lyme disease. Often the underlying conditions must be addressed along with the infection.
Borrelia burgdorferi has been called the second great pretender, after syphilis. Like syphilis it is a spirochete , and the spirochete goes to the brain and spinal cord as fast as it can get there. In addition like syphilis it grows very slowly. Unlike syphilis it is relatively smart in the bacterial world, having the largest genome of any other bacteria. Borrelia burgdorferi is able to crawl inside of cells, thus avoiding immune detection, hide in the brain and spinal cord, where our immune system is careful not to cause too much inflammation. More recent data suggests it may, like many of its co infecting microbes be able to fool the immune system and manipulate the immune response so that the immune system thinks that there is not an infection. In 3 animal models dog, mouse and monkey, chronic persistent infectious borrelia infection has been proven after short course antibiotic. This provides evidence that the cure of chronic Lyme disease in many patients will take more than 1-3 months of antibiotics.
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How Is It Diagnosed
If youâve been outside in an area where ticks are known to live, you should tell your doctor. Theyâll also want to know about the symptoms youâre having. These details are crucial to making a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Early symptoms that usually occur within the first month after a tick bite can include:
- Rash at the site of the tick bite that may look like a âbullâs-eyeâ
- Racing heart
- Problems with your short-term memory
Symptoms that come and go are common with Lyme disease. They will also depend on the stage of the disease.
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