Having Lyme disease is a unique journey. No two Lyme patients will present the same symptoms therefore, treatment must be tailored to fit the individual, level of sensitivity, and degree of illness. In healing chronic infection, there is no "magic bullet".
Having Lyme disease requires patience, greater self-care and knowledge of your limitations in a way bringing you back to truly knowing yourself.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks, also known as deer ticks, and on the west coast, black-legged ticks. These tiny arachnids are typically found in wooded and grassy areas. Although people may think of Lyme as an east coast disease, it is found throughout the United States, as well as in more than sixty other countries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year. That’s 1.5 times the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer, and six times the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year in the US. However, because diagnosing Lyme can be difficult, many people who actually have Lyme may be misdiagnosed with other conditions. Many experts believe the true number of cases is much higher.
Lyme disease affects people of all ages
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete—a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme is called “The Great Imitator,” because its symptoms mimic many other diseases. It can affect any organ of the body, including the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, and the heart.
Patients with Lyme disease are frequently misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and various psychiatric illnesses such as panic disorder and depression. Misdiagnosis with these other diseases may delay the correct diagnosis and treatment as the underlying infection progresses unchecked.
How do people get Lyme disease?
Most people get Lyme from the bite of the nymph, or immature, form of the tick. Nymphs are about the size of a poppy seed. Because they are so tiny and their bite is painless, many people do not even realize they have been bitten.
Once a tick has attached, if undisturbed it may feed for several days. The longer it stays attached, the more likely it will transmit the Lyme and other pathogens into your bloodstream.
If pregnant women are infected, they sometimes pass Lyme disease to their unborn children and, while not common, stillbirth has occurred. Some doctors believe other types of human-to-human transmission are possible but little is known for certain. The lyme bacteria has been found in all body fluids.
Many people with Lyme disease are misdiagnosed. Diagnosing lyme can be elusive. May sick patients do not test positive on lab tests. Therefore a Lyme diagnosis must be made by a Lyme literate physician who can read the clinical signs and symptoms.
Where is Lyme disease found?
Lyme disease has been found on every continent except Antarctica. It is found all across the United States, with a particularly high incidence in the East, Midwest, and West Coast. Rates have increased significantly over time. Some of this increase may be because of disease spread, but it is also likely that it reflects growing public awareness of the disease.
Not all ticks are infected. Within endemic areas, there is considerable variation in tick infection rates depending on the type of habitat, presence of wildlife and other factors. Tick infection rates can vary from 0% to more than 70% in the same area. This uncertainty about how many ticks are infected makes it hard to predict the risk of Lyme disease in a given region.
The Real Story
Lyme disease is actually a “syndrome” and not a straight forward bacterial infection. Ticks carry multiple infections so a tick bite may result in a person being exposed to the Lyme bacteria as well as Bartonella, Babesia, Erlichia, Anaplasma, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, also known as “co-infections”. This helps to explain why no two cases of Lyme disease look the same. Each person may have a different combination of tick borne infection. Many people who get sick with lyme may also have predisposing factors such as mold exposure, a history of trauma, chronic stress, toxicity or just a compromised immune system.
How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
It is estimated that 35% of lyme disease cases are missed with standard ELISA testing. Also, less than 1/3 of people will have the classic Bulls-Eye rash or Erythema Chronicum Migrans after a tick bite. I use a combination of lab tests, Igenex lyme and co-infection testing, clinical history and current signs and symptoms. I believe that a large majority of people have been exposed to these infections and may have antibodies without being sick. It is often an acute stressor that is the trigger to people to getting ill. These acute stressors may be accidents, high levels of stress, pregnancy or hormonal changes, or emotionally challenging situations. It may be that the infection was there all along and the immune system was able to keep it suppressed until the microbial load became overwhelming to the immune system
What is Lyme or Co-infection Treatment?
Often the person being diagnosed with Lyme or co-infections is in a depleted or toxic state which must be addressed for a person to respond to Lyme treatment. Also, chronic inflammation from infection puts stress on the adrenals, thyroid, liver, gall bladder, lymphatics, spleen and digestive system. In complex illness, there will be many layers that need to be addressed and will be different in each person.
My approach to treating chronic infection.
1. Supporting the toxic or weak organ systems. Looking at genetic influences that create a susceptibility for chronic illness.
2. Treating the infection with combinations of antimicrobials either antibiotic, herbal, Low Dose Immunotherapy or intravenous therapy.
3. Reducing inflammation through herbs, diet or supplements
4. Reducing exposure to compromising factors such as EMF, mold, pesticides, allergens, or heavy metals.
5. Treating biofilms. Biofilms are polysaccharide matrixes that form around infections protecting them from harsh antimicrobials such as antibiotics. If a person is not responding to treatment, biofilms may need to be addressed with herbs or enzymes capable of breaking down the layers of biofilm.
5. Lifestyle and nervous system management. Toxic or stressful life situations must be addressed. Since Lyme affects the nervous system, quieting the nervous system is a key component in healing – meditation, rest, getting 8 hours of sleep, self-acceptance, and dealing with previous trauma.
6. A healing diet – Organic, reduced carbohydrate and sugar intake, free range, grass fed meat, dairy and eggs. Various diets may be recommended depending on the individual’s needs such as: Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Low histamine Diet, Low Fodmaps diet, Autoimmune diet, or the GAPS diet.
Save the tick and send immediately for testing.
Here is the link for free testing in California. http://www.bayarealyme.org/lyme-disease-preve…/tick-testing/