Demystifying Lyme Disease Symptoms and Treatments
Every year, there are an estimated 325,000 cases of Lyme disease nationwide, and about 25% of them are children. This makes it an epidemic larger than AIDS, West Nile Virus, and Avian flu, combined. Most alarming, the number of people who are diagnosed has steadily increased in recent years, and has doubled since 1991. Despite how rampant the disease is, it mystifies many, patients and physicians alike.
Whatis known is that Lyme disease occurs in individuals bitten by an infected tick, and it is a progressive illness if left untreated. The longer the Lyme disease bacteria is allowed to spread throughout the body, the more difficult it is to cure the illness, and it may become a chronic illness in those who were not treated early enough.
Lyme disease is a progressive illness, one that may become chronic if left untreated for too long. It begins with the “early localized” (primary) stage, and without treatment it will progress to the “early disseminated” (secondary) stage, and finally, the “late disseminated” (tertiary) stage.
- Stage 1: Early Localized Disease: Once being infected through a tick bite, a bullseye-shaped rash may appear. However, at least 35% of those infected do not develop the characteristic rash. Symptoms may set in within hours, days, or even weeks after the bite, and apart from a rash, often include flu-like illness, fatigue, muscle soreness, and sore throat. At this stage, Lyme is easiest to cure.
- Stage 2: Early Disseminated Disease: This secondary stage may occur weeks or months after being bitten by an infected tick. At this stage, bacteria spread throughout the body, and symptoms become more pronounced, as the organisms spread systemically.
- Tertiary Stage: Late Disseminated Disease: Once the organism has spread throughout the body, many patient are affected with chronic arthritis, and an increase in neurological and cardiac symptoms, as the heart and brain become affected. The organism settles into its preferred niche and takes hold as a chronic disease.
Why Does Lyme Disease in Some Patients?
A Lyme disease diagnosis is scary for most people, because of the misconception that it is always “easily curable” or, on the other hand, an incurable, chronic illness. Those diagnosed often worry they will have to live with the disease for life, and that it could affect both their bodies and minds. Fortunately, for most, the disease is treatable, if not always curable. The main reason why the facts about Lyme disease remain shrouded in mystery is that Lyme disease does recur in some people, even though they and their physicians thought they were cured.
What Is Chronic Lyme Disease?
The reason many refer to what is actually chronic Lyme disease as “post-Lyme disease syndrome” is because the spirochete form of the organism causing Lyme disease can be difficult to kill, it may hide in biofilm, or it may turn itself into a cyst form which is less sensitive to the usual antibiotics. It may become a persister if it drops its metabolism to the point where it does not divide, and yet it is not killed. The disease may recur if the infected person’s immune system becomes very stressed due to development of another illness, or spurred on by a stressful life event.
While many who have Lyme disease are successfully cured and experience no long-term consequences, a recurrence of Lyme disease is a real danger in anyone who has had it previously. Lyme disease may reappear for any number of reasons, and the research doesn’t give clear-cut answers as to why this is. One theory of why Lyme disease reappears is the fact that many doctors don’t prescribe the proper treatment. Unfortunately, many physicians are reluctant to prescribe more than a 2-week course of antibiotics, even though Lyme disease may require antibiotics administered for months or years.
Another danger of Lyme disease and why it may recur in some but not others is whether it has progressed to an advanced stage. Many physicians do not properly diagnose Lyme disease early enough, or are swayed by the results of a test showing a false negative result if they test too early after the symptoms set in. Blood tests can accurately detect Lyme disease antibodies made to fight against Lyme bacteria, if the tests use the correct antigens, but these bacteria are not detectable until about 4 weeks after infection sets in. Conventional Western Blot tests use a very limited number of spirochete antigens, and may very well miss active infection with an organism like Borrelia miyamotoi or Borrelia recurrentis, if these antigens are not in the antigen kit used for testing. On the flipside, the patient could have a false positive blood test if the test picks up antibodies to other cross-reacting bacteria or viruses, such as in areas where Lyme is prevalent. The test must be used in conjunction with symptoms to make a clear diagnosis, and if you are a patient who is experiencing continued symptoms that resemble Lyme disease, you shouldn’t give up on pressing your medical team for a diagnosis.
Although the reason why some people get better, and others experience symptoms after theoretically adequate treatment for Lyme disease remains somewhat unclear, there are viable theories.
- One possibility is the bacterial spirochetes continuing to live, despite the theoretically adequate antibiotic therapy. This will cause symptoms of the disease to persist, especially in people who have compromised immune systems.
- Another theory is that Lyme disease may damage the immune system permanently, resulting in hyperactive inflammation - the immune system continues to act as though there is continued infection even if the bacteria have been destroyed, causing symptoms very similar to the original disease.
- When the immune system is significantly stressed by other concurrent factors, such as exposure to toxins or a secondary infection, it could trigger recurrence of symptoms, especially if the spirochetes have not been successfully eradicated.
- The immune system may become simply confused, and start reacting to our own body proteins as though they were spirochetes, triggering any one of a number of autoimmune diseases – and the spirochete does not even have to be alive – a dreadful distortion of the idea of the gift that keeps on giving.
Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine: Providing Answers About Lyme Disease
Interested in learning more about Lyme disease treatments? Our Lyme disease specialists at Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine are dedicated to the reversal of chronic illness through effective holistic treatment methods. We take a comprehensive approach to treating Lyme disease, utilizing holistic treatment methods that have proven success.
Effective treatments for Lyme disease include treating the whole person, not just the infection:
- Oral or intravenous antibiotics administered for at least 4 weeks, often longer
- Herbal and/or homeopathic treatments – depending on the patient’s tolerance and response to treatment
- Ensuring that the gut functions well and can absorb nutrients
- Eliminating chemicals and food additives, eliminating free sugar, sodas, sweets
- Eating a nutritious diet full of vegetables, preferably organic, often free from gluten, corn, diary, soy, eggs, and occasionally even citrus fruits
- Chelation therapy to eliminate toxic heavy metals like mercury (from dental “silver” fillings which are composed of 50% neurotoxic mercury) or cadmium (from cigarette smoke) or aluminum (from cookware and anti-perspirants)
- IV nutritional therapy to fill in nutritional potholes, restoring the immune and detoxification systems to their full capacity – especially if the gut has been poorly functioning
- Physical activity to move the blood and the muscles, and restore energetic flow
- Ensuring adequate restful sleep, because healing occurs during sleep
Our medical team can help you fight back against Lyme disease with effective, natural and pharmaceutical, herbal and/or homeopathic treatments. Contact us at (480) 418-0220 to learn more about how we can help you, or reach out online for a speedy reply.