Lyme disease

Lyme disease is an infectious disorder caused by the spiral spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.   

It is transmitted to humans from infected ticks.

As of 2008, Lyme Disease ranked as the most common disease transmitted from mosquitoes, ticks, and other arthopods in the United States. There has been a huge increase in the number of reported cases of Lyme over the past 30 years. Most cases occure in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.[2]  http://www.physio-pedia.com/Lyme_Disease

Symptoms may include

Fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, profound fatigue, nausea, widespread severe joint pain, the joint pain may be one day in one knee and the next day in the elbow- it can change frequently, facial drooping, speech difficulty, neurological symptoms of a tic, ataxia or difficulty in walking, night sweats, memory loss, thought processing difficulty, flu like symptoms, severe headaches.

 

Below is a picture of a classic picture of somebody after they were bit by an infected tick. It is called a bull’s eye rash.

Many times this rash does not show up though AND you may have been bitten by a tick that is too small to see. 

 

lyme

Reported Cases of Lyme Disease in the United States in 2011

The GREAT IMITATOR

It can be very difficult for a health care provider to correctly diagnoses Lyme disease because it can present with so many variable symptoms. It takes a clinician that takes a lot of time and is a good historian of your medical history and condition.   It can closely mimic other disorders such as multiple sclerosisfibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Guillain-Barré syndrome, it is frequently called “The Great Imitator.”  Goodman CC, Snyder TK. Differential Diagnosis for Physical Therapists: Screening for Referral. 4th ed. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
Many patients will see on average about 15 physicians before they are diagnosed accurately from my experience. Depression is a major part of Lyme disease and it can seem hopeless many times.

Testing for Lyme

Testing for Lyme disease is not very accurate. The most common tests are the ELISA test and the Western Blot test. The ELISA test is to try and rule Lyme disease out and the Western Blot test is to try and rule it in. The ELISA test is not very good at ruling the condition out but the Western Blot test is fairly good at ruling the test in. These studies below are from Lymedisease.org  For the Western blot test it separates protein bands of antigens. You must have 5 positive bands to have a positive test.
Screen-Shot-2014-08-25-at-5.08.30-PM

Personal experience

My wife contracted Lyme disease about 13 years ago in the woods in Maryland riding her bike. She saw a rash on her arm and ever since she had knee and leg pain every Sunday evening. She had night sweats, short term memory issues, tics, flu like symptoms that were profound, joint pain so bad she had arthoscopic surgery in her knees (the orthopedic Doctors said after the surgery they could find no structural damage and asked if she had been tested for Lyme disease), she had fevers, fibromyalgia like symptoms of tightness and joint pain that varied randomly, jaw pain, and migraines.
She went to about 15 to 20 Doctors – family doctors, orthopedic doctors, infectious disease doctors, rheumatologists, psychiatrists, and internists. She finally went to an incredible physician in Sterling , VA. One of the best Doctors and people I have ever met. It is a long story but it is best not to mention Lyme literate Doctors names. We can address this issue a different time. It is extremely controversial to be treated for Lyme disease by a Lyme literate Doctor. The main controversy lies in that chronic Lyme patients are treated with a host of antibiotics and some Doctors worry about the use off too many antibiotics may create superbugs and antibiotic resistance for patients. She was given the Western blot test and ELISA test and found to have Lyme disease. It has been a long road but she is significantly better over the past year. She started her treatments about 6 years ago.
In my experience Lyme disease has been profoundly difficult in our marriage. My wife used to work as a 7th grade math teacher and she was cream of the crop in the highest level of education in the country in Montgomery County, Maryland. She would work for 70 hours a week consistently and was a life changer type of teacher. Her students adored her. She won awards for her high level of teaching ability and her students scores on state exams. She was in the highest demand for students and parents to have kids come to her class.  Then she was more sick than I have seen almost anybody in 15 years of working in the health care field.  It has been devastating to our finances with medical bills that have often times had to be paid outside of insurance. It will take years to catch up financially. When my wife is sick she is on edge – who isn’t right? Who can be happy and cheery when they are profoundly sick for years.  I saw her change from a happy, athletic, energetic, paragon of good health to lying in the bath tub writhing in pain and crying. She is the most courageous person I know. She has tried so many treatments and not given up. She has tried and succeeded in drawing closer to God. This has helped our marriage tremendously.  She is a great example for me for sure. She is inexorably pursuing how to help her condition and help others with the disease. She reads from scriptures, prays, exercises however she can that does not aggravate her knee pain or make her feel too sick. She has assiduously pursued looking for a job that she can perform that will not be too grueling on her health.
I have found from her teaching that there are some things that I can do as her spouse that can help.
1. Be a good listener- don’t try to fix her concerns immediately- listen and sympathize/show empathy.
2. Try my best to help around the house with cleaning, cooking, running errands, exercise with her to support her as a friend. ( I need to do a better job at all of these)
3. With my job make sure I have the best possible health insurance possible and highest FLEX spending available for out of pocket health costs
4. Try my best to avoid arguments in a healthy way- the stress exacerbates this condition exponentially. She does better at this than me.
There are some patients that are so debilitated by this disease that they lose your job, have people think you are faking, lose a lot of friends because they feel you don’t get back to them with texts or phone calls, have family members alienate you, some family and friends will be so helpful and supportive but it is likely more the exception than the rule, lie in bed for many days on end in pain and sweating.
It is a profoundly understudied and underfunded disease. It needs to be studied and treatments need to be found.
A common reaction to the medications is called herxing where there is die off of the spirochete and you feel really sick.
LymeGraphic1

Lyme Disease Prevention Tips

4 Natural Treatments for Lyme Disease

1. Eat to Improve Immune Function

The best way to overcome chronic Lyme disease is by naturally boosting your immune system, lowering inflammation and managing the root causes of your symptoms. Your body can overcome Lyme disease for good only once you control the inflammatory responses it’s triggering.

My basic dietary advice for anyone struggling with an inflammatory condition is to try removing grains, fruit and sugar from your diet while consuming anti-inflammatory foods — mostly vegetables, nuts, seeds, coconut, bone broth, organic meat and raw cultured dairy.  If you want to learn more about this approach to controlling leaky gut syndrome and inflammation, you can find out much more detail in this article about healing leaky gut and autoimmune diseases.

Some of the best foods for naturally raising immunity include:

  • High-antioxidant foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens and other brightly colored veggies or berries, are the best sources of antioxidants and many other key nutrients. They help control free radical damage and inflammation, lower risk for nutrient deficiencies, and can protect you from Lyme complications.
  • Bone broth: bone broth naturally contains the amino acids called proline and glycine, which can help repair a “leaky gut” and enhance immune function. Your gut/digestive health is highly tied to overall immune functioning; in fact, around 70 percent or more of your immune system lives in your gut! Foods that help replenish your gut with healthy bacteria and also rebuild the lining of the your GI tract control inflammation and allergies along with the many symptoms they can trigger.
  • Probiotic-rich foods: Research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiologyshows that probiotics can help reduce infectious disease progression and symptoms. (8) Probiotic foods include kefir, amasai and yogurt (ideally raw goat’s milk yogurt, which is one of the highest sources of probiotics). Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass can be beneficial and should be added to your diet regularly. To truly kill off the bad bacteria we must overcrowd it with “good bacteria” (also known as probiotics). Probiotics help good bacteria to grow and flourish in the GI tract, which has a huge impact on your overall immunity and health.

2. Supplements to Help Improve Cellular Function

The next step in Lyme disease treatment is improving cellular functioning and protection. Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, along with viruses and parasites, can attack healthy cells and weaken your defenses. In order to restore cellular health, consider adding these essential nutrients to your regime:

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 naturally boosts immunity and plays a role in regulating inflammation. I recommend you supplement with around 5,000 IU daily, especially if you’re vitamin D deficient, live in the northern region of the world and don’t get much direct sunlight exposure (the best way for your body to make its own vitamin D).
  • CoQ10: CoQ10 can help protect your brain and nervous system from degradation and inflammation, while also lowering symptoms like joint pain and aches. It’s commonly used by patients with ongoing fatigue and autoimmune disorder symptoms, including those with fibromyalgia. (9) Most physicians recommend taking 200 milligrams twice daily.
  • Medicinal mushrooms: Studies show that medicinal mushrooms (this includes cordycep, reishi and maitake mushrooms) promote an adaptive immune system which helps control autoimmune reactions. (10) These can be found in various supplement forms and have been proven to reduce reactions to inflammation and stress. Medicinal mushrooms boost an intracellular antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD) that protects your cells. They can also increase function of natural killer cells that can kill off bad bacteria.
  • B-Complex: B vitamins support many metabolic and cellular functions, plus they help fight infections and improve neurological health. Vitamin B-6 is especially important for Lyme patients, or just about anyone dealing with the affects of stress or fatigue.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These fatty acids are highly anti-inflammatory and support neurological/cognitive functions. In addition to consuming food sources of omega-3s (for example, wild-caught fish and nuts and seeds), I recommend supplementing with 1,000 milligrams of fish oil daily, specifically one that contains astaxanthin which boosts absorption.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is an electrolyte with hundreds of roles in the body, from supporting nerve signaling to reducing muscle aches. Many people are magnesium deficient, and those with Lyme disease can’t afford to run low since stress and illness only increases the body’s need for more.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce joint pain, headaches, and damage to blood vessels or nerves.
  • Probiotics: In addition to consuming probiotic-rich foods, I recommend supplementing with probiotics with at least 8 strains and 50 billion units daily. I believe this is the most important factor in destroying Lyme.

 

Lyme disease natural treatment - Dr. Axe

 

3. Get Enough Rest & Manage Emotional Stress

Chronic stress, whether physical or emotional, has been proven time and time again to weaken the immune system and increase someone’s risk for getting sick. Stress can trigger inflammation and cause hormonal imbalances, while also disturbing digestive functions and worsening many Lyme disease symptoms. To prevent a Lyme infection from continuing to worsen and spread, you must address stress if you are truly going to heal.

  •  In order to combat chronic stress, I recommend you schedule times of rest into your week, along with “fun times” meant to spend with family, friends and also alone. This might seem silly or even too simple to work, but stress is a very serious issue that makes many people sicker than they need to be!
  • Focus on getting plenty of rest. Lyme can contribute to fatigue and require that you get extra sleep, so balance activity with rest and relaxation.
  • I suggest you also practice forgiveness, address past emotional trauma, and work on healing through spirituality and guidance. Many people with Lyme and autoimmune conditions have deep-seeded emotional issues that interfere with healing. A good friend of mine, Dr. Alex Loyd, has a book called The Healing Code you may consider reading.
  • Supplementing with adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha can naturally reduce the effects of stress and help balance cortisol levels.
  • Other methods for helping to control your stress response include meditation, joining a support group, reading, journaling, exercising, using essential oils and spending time in nature.

4. Reduce Mold & Parasite Exposure

According to Lyme disease experts and research done by the Department of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University, environmental triggers (in particular viruses, bacteria and other infectious pathogens) are thought to play a major role in the development of autoimmune diseases. Parasites and mold exposure can contribute to lasting Lyme disease symptoms by stressing the immune system. (11)

  •  To naturally treat parasitic infections and toxicity I recommend using activated carbon (activated charcoal), which has been proven effective in helping the body expel harmful substances.
  • Bentonite clay can also be beneficial and works in a similar way to bind to things like chemicals and heavy metals. However, make sure to take these two supplements on an empty stomach because they can also bind to essential minerals you need.
  • To specifically treat parasites, I’d suggest consuming a diet low in sugar and high in healthy fats, along with taking and consuming probiotics.
  • Herbs that can help kill parasites include wormwood, black walnut, oregano, garlic and grapefruit seed extracts.

Customization & Precautions When Treating Lyme Disease

Remember that every person with Lyme disease is different — not all will show all the common Lyme disease symptoms described above, suffer from deficiencies or deal with high amounts of stress. That’s why customization, patience and being open-minded are important. Different things for Lyme disease treatment work for different people, so don’t lose hope.

The above information is from DR AXE and it is the best information I have ever seen on Lyme disease.

Treatments

If your Doctor is exceptional and catches Lyme disease right when it happens within a few days or weeks it is a course of 14-21 days of antibiotics. Many patients do not get diagnosed right away and it becomes a case of chronic Lyme disease and it is extremely difficult to treat. If it goes undiagnosed for a long period it is much more difficult to treat the condition. Chronic Lyme disease is devastating but there is some hope.

Common Treatments

There will be a host of antibiotics that are tried. You may even need IV treatment of antibiotics.

It can make you go into tremendous medical debt because many Lyme Doctors do not take insurance. Be extremely careful as to who you choose as your Doctor. There are for sure scammers out there in my opinion. And there are Doctors that are some of the best people and best clinicians I have ever met.

Infrared sauna to sweat out toxins

Whatever exercise you can manage to get your heart rate up

Coinfections

Coinfections may be common – at least among those with chronic Lyme disease. A recently published LDo survey over 3,000 patients with chronic Lyme disease found that over 50% had coinfections, with 30% reporting two or more coinfections. The most common coinfections were Babesia (32%), Bartonella (28%), Ehrlichia (15%), Mycoplasma (15%), Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (6%), Anaplasma (5%), and Tularemia (1%). Lymedisease.org

Babesia is usually tested for with a blood test. Typical early manifestations  Of Babesia include intermittent fevers accompanied by fatigue and malaise, headache, chills, and myalgias. Nausea, vomiting, reduced appetite and depression can also occur. CDC.org 2009. The common treatment is Mepron and azythromyocin.

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial illness transmitted by ticks that causes flu-like symptoms. The signs and symptoms of ehrlichiosis range from mild body aches to severe fever and usually appear within a week or two of a tick bite. Mayoclinic.org The common treatment is doxycycline.

Symptoms of a Bartonella infection include fever, fatigue, malaise, swollen lymph nodes, joint aches and swelling, neurological abnormalities, and skin rash or markings. Raredisease.org Treatment is typically…doxycycline or azithromycin possibly with rifampin, clarithromycin, or a newer fluoroquinolone antibiotic. emedicine.com

 

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