How Is Lyme Disease Treated
If youve had a tick bite and have obvious symptoms, like a rash, youll likely be given antibiotics for up to 21 days. But there are important things to consider when it comes to antibiotic treatment:
- A number of studies show that antibiotic therapy successfully treats localized Lyme if initiated within 2 to 3 weeks after the initial infection. But for those with disseminated Lyme disease, who dont develop symptoms for weeks to months later including the 30% who dont have a rash antibiotics often dont workas well.
- Three weeks of antibiotics has a very serious impact on the body, particularly the gut flora. And theres no guarantee it will cure the infection. Studies have shown that anywhere from 16% to 48% almost half! of patients experience continued or recurrent Lyme symptoms after finishing their treatment.
- Theres also the problem of coinfections. For example, black-legged ticks also carry other infectious bacteria, some of which dont respond as well to amoxicillin. So even if the Lyme is cured, the patient might still have symptoms related to anaplasmosis or babesiosis nonetheless. And think she still has Lyme!
And then theres chronic Lyme disease
What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience what’s called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally don’t prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but it’s not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.
Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.
When Should I Go See My Doctor
Anyone who has been bitten by a black-legged deer tick is at risk for Lyme disease. The highest risk groups include those living in or visiting endemic areas, especially people who spend significant time outdoors such as gardeners, hikers, or outdoor workers.
Patients should seek advice from their doctor if they have a suspicious round expanding red skin lesion, and/or show signs of summer-flu, particularly during Lyme disease season, which is highest-risk late spring through July/August. If those circumstances apply or symptoms persist it is very important to go to a physician.
For the west coast and other more temperate regions Lyme disease can be a year-round concern.
In the later disseminated stages, Lyme disease can be a much more insidious and complex illness. An individual should seek medical care if experiencing symptoms such as prolonged fevers, unexplained fatigue, painful joints, new or unusual headache, or heart or neurologic symptoms. If unexplained viral-like symptoms last for more than 1-2 weeks, please seek the advice of a physician.
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Why Is Chronic Lyme Disease Chronic
Several factors may account for persistent symptoms. These include low grade persistent infection which either causes damage directly or indirectly through the inflammatory and toxic effects of an activated immune response, permanent damage as may occur in brain injured patients, or a Lyme-triggered autoimmune reaction.
The post-infectious inflammatory hypothesis also is supported by several lines of evidence. For example, patients with Lyme arthritis who carry the HLA-DR4 or DR2 allele are more vulnerable to developing a chronic antibiotic-resistant arthritis. Indirect evidence exists to support molecular mimicry as at least one possible explanation for persistent symptoms. For example, the flagellin protein can generate antibodies that cross-react with myelin basic protein, thereby contributing to axonal dysfunction. Finally, remnants of pieces of the spirochete may result in a persistent activation of the immune system, causing the production of interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor, and nitric oxide. These cytokines produce fatigue and malaise, two of the more prominent symptoms experienced by patients with chronic Lyme disease.
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Late Lyme Disease Symptoms
Late Lyme Disease Symptoms may include inflammation, joint pain/stiffness, and sometimes neurological symptoms. Symptoms of late Lyme disease occur months to years after a tick bite.
Muscle and joint symptoms may occur in 80% of individuals with Lyme disease who have not been treated with antibiotics. 20% of individuals experience joint pain, 50% experience intermittent episodes of arthritis , and fewer than 10% experience persistent arthritis of a single joint or a few joints.
Neurologic symptoms chronic pain, difficulty with memory, slowed thought processes, and odd sensations, such as numbness or tingling. However, late neurologic manifestations can include anxiety, depression, or personality/mood changes. These symptoms are more rare and are usually caused by something other than Lyme disease.
Skin symptoms may include skin nodules, swelling, thinning of patches of skin, which usually occurs on the hands, feet, knees, or elbows.
Post-Late Lyme disease syndrome nonspecific symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, and joint pain, may linger for months after the treatment of Lyme disease has ended. However, these symptoms gradually resolve, and there is no evidence that antibiotics improve or speed up the resolution of post-Lyme disease symptoms.
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What You Should Know About Chronic Fatigue
Chronic fatigue is a broad term that can refer to a range of medical conditions, from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to symptoms of other conditions. In fact, fatigue is a common symptom of Lyme disease and especially chronic Lyme disease. So, if youre experiencing chronic fatigue, how do you know what the cause is? Keep reading to learn more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fatigue as a symptom of other conditions, and important facts about chronic fatigue and Lyme.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of The Third Stage Of Lyme Disease
Late stage Lyme disease can result when treatment is unsuccessful or started too late due to unrecognized symptoms or misdiagnosis. The late disseminated stage occurs months or years after initial infection and can have a major impact on a patients health and quality of life. Late Lyme arthritis is a third stage Lyme disease manifestation that involves fluid accumulation and pain in joints, particularly in the knee joints. Late neurologic disease is a 3rd stage condition that can also be debilitating and difficult to diagnose. Late disseminated Lyme disease symptoms include a variety of symptoms that are often neurologic in origin including: numbness in extremities, mental fogginess and concentration problems, and difficulty following conversations or processing information.
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When To Call Your Doctor
Erythema migrans is a hallmark symptom of Lyme disease. If you think you might have been bitten by a tick and youve developed a circular rash, call your doctor as soon as possible. Medical attention is particularly important if you have other symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease, which are usually flu-like.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause:
- joint inflammation and pain
- facial palsy
- short-term memory loss
If treated early, Lyme disease can almost always be cured. Call your doctor as soon as you see erythema migrans.
Dizziness And Other Late
Dizziness can be caused by everything from dehydration to neurological conditions. Inner ear problems top the list of common culprits. But did you know that Lyme diseaseat every stagecan cause dizziness?
Early Lyme tends to mimic the flu with symptoms such as fatigue, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. But once Borrelia burgdorferi spreads, it can damage every part of your body. By category, here are some of the many ways late-stage Lyme disease can rear its hostile head.
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What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. In the United States, this is usually a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It spreads to humans through the bite of an infected tick. The ticks that spread it are blacklegged ticks . They are usually found in the:
- Upper Midwest
- Pacific coast, especially northern California
These ticks can attach to any part your body. But they are often found in hard-to-see areas such as your groin, armpits, and scalp. Usually the tick must be attached to you for 36 to 48 hours or more to spread the bacterium to you.
Your Symptoms Improve When You’re Taking Medication For Other Ailments
Patients taking antibiotics for an unrelated problem , will often report that their symptoms are much better while taking the antibiotic, and worsen when the antibiotic is stopped. Conversely, some individuals feel much worse on antibiotics, where all of their symptoms are intensified. This is called a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, where the Lyme bacteria are being killed off, and temporarily worsen the underlying symptoms.
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In this blog, you will learn:
- What the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease are
- How Lyme Disease is diagnosed
- Why it is important to get a correct diagnosis so that treatment can be targeted and effective
Do your clients suffer from fatigue, headaches or muscle or joint pain? Do they have Lyme Disease and do you know how to treat it? Then this blog on Lyme Disease is for you. Please read on for the details!
Do you get stuck clinically with symptoms of Lyme with your patients? Would you like to have a larger impact on improving pain or fatigue issues? The key to the treatment of many diseases may just be an individual approach using nutrition, lifestyle and exercise. If you want to improve your patients quality of life, you need a customized approach to address each patients root causes. Our functional medicine course will teach you how to do this. Look into our functional medicine school : we will educate you to have a greater impact on improving your clients lives.
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What is Lyme Disease ?
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia is a bacterium that is transmitted by an infected black-legged tick. It is most commonly spread by a tick bite. The disease is named after Lyme, Connecticut, where it was first identified in 1975 in the US.
Study Shows Evidence Of Severe And Lingering Symptoms In Some After Treatment For Lyme Disease
In a study of 61 people treated for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Johns Hopkins researchers conclude that fatigue…
In a study of 61 people treated for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Johns Hopkins researchers conclude that fatigue, pain, insomnia and depression do indeed persist over long periods of time for some people, despite largely normal physical exams and clinical laboratory testing.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is a real disorder that causes severe symptoms in the absence of clinically detectable infection, says John N. Aucott, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
The findings, published in the December issue of Frontiers in Medicine, could spur further investigation into the cause of persistent symptoms, a source of medical controversy. As Lyme disease rates have steadily climbed in the United States since it was first recognized in the mid-1970s, so have reports of a collection of symptoms that patients commonly refer to as chronic Lyme disease. Experts in the field have questioned the validity of this term because of the lack of direct evidence in this group of patients of ongoing infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Other Johns Hopkins researchers who participated in this study include Alison W. Rebman, Ting Yang, Erica A. Mihm, Mark J. Soloski and Cheryl Novak.
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Early Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control each year. The risk of Lyme disease is greatest in the spring and summer when the disease is commonly transmitted through tick bites.
Preventing tick bites is key to fending off an infection, but if you do get bit, look out for these early symptoms of Lyme disease:
You’ve Gotten A Positive Blood Test
The fourth and final point to determine if your symptoms are due to Lyme disease is to ask your healthcare provider to run a blood test. Although there are several different laboratory tests to diagnose Lyme disease, these tests each have their pros and cons, and can miss establishing the diagnosis because they are not sensitive enough to always pick up the presence of the bacteria.
A bullseye rash is a classic manifestation of Lyme disease, and does not require a positive blood test, but less than 50% of people may get the rash, and it may be located in a part of the body where the rash cannot easily be seen.
If you suffer from chronic unexplained symptoms, including fatigue and musculoskeletal pain, follow this four-step approach and ask your doctor for a professional opinion.
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Getting Diagnosed Isn’t Always Straightforward
Lyme disease, a tick-borne bacterial infection, is pretty uncommon in London , so I was sure there was some kind of mistake.
The Independent reports that there are around 1,000 diagnosed cases in the UK every year, most commonly in rural areas, compared to the 300,000 annual reported cases in the US. If it’s not diagnosed early, it can lead to neurological problems like Bell’s palsy , as well as memory and heart problems, according to Mayo Clinic.
It turns out the rash on my inner left thigh was actually where I’d been bitten while sitting on the grass in St James’s Park in central London that June, a month before my hospital visit.
A rash with a red ring around the site of a tick bite, known as erythema migrans , which appears three to 30 days after being bitten, is one of the main telltale signs of Lyme disease.
Unexplained Pain And Other Sensations
Some people with Lyme may have sharp rib and chest pains that send them to the emergency room, suspecting a heart problem 00090-7/abstract%20″ rel=”nofollow”> 27).
When no problem is found, after the usual testing, the ER diagnosis is noted as an unidentified musculoskeletal cause.
You can also have strange sensations like skin tingling or crawling, or numbness or itchiness 00090-7/abstract%20″ rel=”nofollow”> 27).
Other symptoms have to do with cranial nerves.
- Ear-ringing . Tinnitus can be a nuisance, especially at bedtime when it seems to get louder as youre trying to fall asleep. About 10 percent of people with Lyme experience this (
- Hearing loss. One study reported that 15 percent of Lyme patients experienced loss of hearing .
- Jaw pain or toothaches that are not related to actual tooth decay or infection.
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Symptoms Of Tickborne Illness
Many tickborne diseases can have similar signs and symptoms. If you get a tick bite and develop the symptoms below within a few weeks, see your healthcare provider.
The most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses include:
- Fever/chills. All tickborne diseases can cause fever.
- Aches and pains. Tickborne diseases can cause headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. People with Lyme disease may also have joint pain.
Your healthcare provider should evaluate the following before deciding on a plan for treatment:
- Your symptoms,
- the geographic region where you were bitten, and
- lab tests, depending on the symptoms and the geographic region where you were bitten.
Tick paralysis is thought to be caused by a toxin in the saliva of an attached tick. People with tick paralysis can experience weakness or paralysis that gradually moves up the body. These symptoms can sometimes resemble other neurologic conditions . Patients typically regain movement within 24 hours of removing the tick. Learn more at Tick paralysis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopediaexternal icon.
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The Patient Was Given Over
After the first doctor’s diagnosis, Varshavski says, the patient was sent home to be treated with over-the-counter meds. But the man’s pain intensified and he developed a rash.
The patient then went to an urgent care facility, where he received a topical steroid, according to his medical records. While it treated the rash, the patient told Varshavski it didn’t ease the joint and muscle pain.
Next, the man returned to his doctor to report he wasn’t getting better, and the doctor ordered X-rays, but still told the patient the most likely cause of his symptoms was weight, Varshavski said.
“If you look at the course of illness for this patient the fact that it was getting worse, there is not only joint pain, but there is also body aches, there is also fatigue setting in, rashes starting to happen these are multiple systems being involved and that tells me something systemic is going on,” Varshavski said.
That something, Varshavaski said, was Lyme disease. He pieced it together using photos of the man’s rash and questions about his lifestyle. The patient had a dog, which, the man said, had recently gotten a tick. Ticks can transmit Lyme.
Varshavaski took blood for two tests: ELISA, which tests for antibodies against the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and the Western Blot, which is used to confirm a positive ELISA test.
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What To Do If You Have A Blacklegged Tick Bite
Remove the tick by pulling it directly out with fine-tipped tweezers. Lift upward with slow and even pressure. Dont twist when removing it. Dont crush it or put soap or other substances on it. Dont apply heat to it.
Place the tick in a resealable container. See if you can identify what kind of a tick it is.
Immediately after removing the tick, wash your skin well with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.
Not all ticks carry Lyme. The Lyme bacteria is transmitted only by blacklegged ticks in their nymph or adult stage.
Save the tick to show your doctor. The doctor will want to determine if its a blacklegged tick and if theres evidence of feeding. Ticks enlarge as they feed. Your risk of getting Lyme from an infected tick increases with the length of time that the tick fed on your blood.
Pull the tick out with tweezers and save it in a resealable container for identification.