Lyme disease endemic

It is true that Lyme disease is an endemic in the state of Wisconsin. Have you wondered before if you have Lyme disease? Have you called your doctor and told them about a tick bite only to be told it is nothing to worry about?

This happened to one of my patients over Memorial Day weekend. Their 12 year old son had a tick bite and noted the start of a rash. She called his doctor concerned requesting an inexpensive antibiotic for 21 days to prevent Lyme disease. She was told there was no need because only 20% of the people who have a tick bite get Lyme disease. I was outraged by this when she called me to help her out! I was outraged because she and her husband have Lyme disease, this child’s grandparents and an uncle all have Lyme disease. What is our medical community thinking?

If 20% of the people with a tick bite convert to Lyme then why is it that 40-50% of the people with Lyme disease never remember a tick bite and more so never see the classic rash that occurs? Instead what people experience is a variety of symptoms which begin within a few days or a few weeks? Many will feel fatigue like they have never felt before. Migratory joint pain which usually begins with the hips, knees, elbows, ankles, fingers and toes. Headaches and pain in the back of the neck begin these are described as flu like symptoms. Later memory issues begin with the inability to remember names or retrieving thoughts occur. The most unique part of this is that there is no history of arthritis, and no personal or family history of depression.

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO DIAGNOSE LYME DISEASE

Why is it so difficult to diagnose Lyme disease? Borrelia burgdorferi, is a bacterial spirochete, which causes the condition. According to Rhinebeck Health this bacteria can invade all parts of the body, including skin, muscles, joints, nervous system, the cardiovascular system, ocular tissue, sinus tissue, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs. Lyme disease is known as the great mimicker therefore people get diagnosis of many other diseases. What makes this more difficult is that every person infected can have various symptoms. The spirochete actually protects itself by creating a cell well and can change its structure to survive. We now believe it can stimulate an immunological response, including autoimmune responses. With the growing numbers of autoimmune disease we have to wonder how many of these people have untreated Lyme disease.

LYME TESTING

So you have had a Lyme test and it was negative, do you believe the results are accurate? This is an easy answer, it depends. Conventional PCR testing is only about 20-30% accurate not because of the test method but because of the spirochete itself. Western Blot is more accurate if you can get your doctor to order this without a positive PCR test. There are new testing methods available from IGENEX lab in California, and Neuroscience Osceola WI.

IF YOU SUSPECT LYME DISEASE

What should you do if you suspect Lyme disease? Find a Lyme literate doctor in Wisconsin there are a few; Steve Meress in Fon du Lac, Rebecca Keith NP, in Hayward, Dr. Hoffmann in WI Dells, Kim Saxe in Brookfield, and Debra Muth in Waukesha.

You need to have appropriate testing for not just Lyme disease but also co-infections. You will need antibiotic therapy and herbal supplementation with homeopathic remedies to assist in treating you disease. Depending on how long you have had Lyme disease is what determines your treatment plan and how long it will take to reach a recovery period.

The most important thing is to find someone who understands this devastating disease and is willing to work with you.

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The Dark Side Of Injury By Debra Muth, ND

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Dr. Muth interviewed for US News & World Report, "5 Ways to Mitigate the Financial Downside of a Disability" Click here to read the full interview. (PDF)