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Chronic Lyme disease
Transcript of Chronic Lyme disease
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent Chronic Lyme disease, but you can take precautions to avoid coming in direct contact with infected ticks. The following sections covered will give indication of steps to reduce the likelihood of getting Lyme disease and developing persistent symptoms.
The life cycle of a tick that transmits the disease
It is a good idea to take steps to prevent ticks all year, but the time to become more aware is during the warmer months (April-September) when the ticks are most active. Furthermore, understanding what the complex life cycle of ticks that transmit Lyme disease is important in knowing the risk of acquiring the disease and finding ways to prevent it.
“The life cycle of the ticks requires 2 years to complete. During the fall and early spring the adult ticks feed and mate on large animals, especially deer’s. Then the, female ticks’ then drop off these animals to lay eggs on the ground. By summer, eggs hatch into larvae.”---
Completing the two year cycle of the tick:
When the Larvae have hatched they begin to feed on small mammals (such as mice or birds) during the summer and early fall then they don't become active again until next spring when they turn into nymphs.
When the larvae turn into Nymphs they start feeding on not only small mammals, but small rodents as well during the
late spring and summer, forming into adults in the fall.
When both larvae and nymph feed on infected mammals or rodents usually that is when they become infected with Lyme disease bacteria. Whether transformation from larva to nymph or nymph to adult the bacteria within the tick transfers with each new form. In addition, the infected nymphs and adult ticks then bite and transmit Lyme disease bacteria, all in the course of normal feeding behavior.
Diagnosis of Chronic Lyme disease
It can be a difficult process to make a diagnosis of Chronic Lyme disease because of the variable signs and symptoms in how Lyme disease are inclusive and often are found in other conditions, along with how each case appears erratically.
According to The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society -currently there is no reliable test to determine if someone has contracted Lyme disease or is cured of it. False positives and false negative often occur, though false negatives are far more common. In fact, some studies indicate up to 50% of the patients tested for Lyme disease receive false negative results.
Doctors with knowledge and experience in recognizing Lyme disease will often begin treatment when symptoms show signs of the disease, even if the test does not come out positive. This is done in an effort stave of the development of Chronic Lyme disease. The doctors do have a few blood tests that they can do. The Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test and western blot test. Unfortunately, none are 100% accurate.
“The ELISA Test: is the standard test performed as the first step in confirming a clinical (system-based) Lyme disease diagnosis, especially in patients whose symptoms did not include the expanding rash typical of early disease. The ELISA screens for elevated blood levels of antibodies produced in response to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, but 5% to 7% of those unexposed to the disease will also test positive. The ELISA is therefore meant to provide only preliminary screening, and all positive results must be confirmed by a second test, the Western Blot.”---American Lyme Disease Foundation
“The more accurate, Western Blot specifics which Lyme-associated antibodies are present in the bloodstream, and is routinely used to confirm, or in some cases contradict, positive ELISA results. A positive ELISA followed by a negative Western blot indicates that Lyme disease is not an appropriate diagnosis. The ELISA/Western blot combination is considered the most reliable testing method currently available.”---American Lyme Disease Foundation
Depending upon the symptoms you show, the doctors may choose to test further into affected areas to decide the extensiveness of the damage. “These tests may include: an electrocardiogram (EKG) or echocardiogram to examine heart function, spinal tap to examine cerebrospinal fluid, and an MRI of the brain to observe neurological conditions.”---
While all the tests taken may confirm infection, they cannot determine what is causing the continued symptoms of the disease.
I am not talking about this subject blindly, but in fact become a witness to what this disease can do. I have watched a dear friend of mine fight this non-ending battle.
More Works Consulted
Awareness of Chronic Lyme Disease (the seriousness of it, its symptoms, and how it affects the body)
According to The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Chronic Lyme disease is called the “great imitator” because it is often misdiagnosed as another condition such as: Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, or anxiety. People who contract Lyme disease are usually misdiagnosed during the early stages, leading to a chronic form of the disease. Treatments that work for these other illnesses are not appropriate for treating Lyme disease. If mistreated or disregarded, Chronic Lyme disease leaves those that have contracted it physically debilitated and without a medically established remedy.
If Chronic Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early the Lyme infection can spread and may go into hiding in the body. There are I.V. treatments for Chronic Lyme disease that can destroy the bacteria, but there is yet to be a cure for those who have reached this stage.
“The exact cause of Chronic Lyme is not yet known. Experts are unclear as to why some patients do not fully recover from symptoms after treatment. Some believe that the disease damages your immune system and tissues, and that your immune system continues to respond to the infection even after the bacteria are destroyed, causing symptoms. Other experts give indication that the symptoms can occur even after antibiotic therapy has been administered which likely results from persistent bacteria that were not destroyed by the antibiotics. This is possible due to the hardy, survival-oriented, and resistant nature of Lyme disease bacteria."---
Prevention of Lyme disease
How to Remove a Tick
If you find a tick on your body, it is important to remove it properly from the skin:
Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible and make sure to grab a hold of the head of the tick, not the belly.
Slowly pull the tick upward, without twisting or jerking the tick, if done otherwise the mouth parts of the tick will break off and remain in the skin. If you find that, that has happened make sure to remove the mouth-parts, but if unable to do so leave it alone and let the skin do the healing work.
After the tick has been successfully removed from the skin make sure to wash the bite area and you’re hands down with rubbing alcohol (iodine scrub) or soap and water.
If the tick is still alive flush it down the toilet, though if the tick is dead you can dispose of it into the trash (NEVER crush a tick with your fingers).
Avoid using nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat or any other forms to detach the tick from the skin. You want to remove the tick quickly-not waiting for it to detach.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevention of Lyme disease
The chances of being bitten by a tick can be decreased with a few precautions:
Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.Tape the area where pants and socks meet so that ticks cannot crawl under clothing.
"Spray insect repellant containing DEET on clothes and on exposed skin other than the face, or treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact."---
Wear a hat and a long-sleeved shirt for added protection.
Clear back brush and tall grass around the home.
Inspect body carefully and pets for ticks after being outside, thoroughly examining skin and scalp
When possible, avoid walking or hiking in the woods and areas overhanging with high brush and grass. If you do walk or hike in these areas make sure to walk in the center of trails. Always wash your hair, remove clothing and wash and dry it at a high temperature; inspect body carefully and pets for ticks after being outside, thoroughly examining skin and scalp.
Life cycle of the tick that spreads Lyme disease
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
You have the right to believe what you think with the sum of the information presented here, but for a second I urge you to step back and see the seriousness of Chronic Lyme disease.
This disease is worth bringing to light because I want your eyes to open and see more then logistics of right and wrong on whether this disease exists. I want you to see that these are real people suffering on a daily basis. They are not making it up to call attention to themselves.
Before you disregard this, I ask you to put yourself in their position. What if this was you or your loved one suffering through this affliction, and were not able to move forward in what you wanted to do? I ask you, would you want the people around you telling you this is all in your head? Or would you want to call attention and awareness to those who can make a difference.
Living with Chronic Lyme disease
Chronic Lyme patients face a long and arduous fight to wellness. Without the right kind of treatment, these patients tend to have lower quality of life than those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or a heart condition. Most patients with Chronic Lyme disease recover from persistent symptoms with time. However, it can take months, and sometimes years, before they feel completely well. According to the Mayo Clinic, a small number of people continue to experience symptoms, including fatigue and muscle aches, despite treatment. It is not clear why some people fail to fully recover.
For people suffering from Chronic Lyme, hearing that their Lyme disease should be gone after a maximum of 2-4 weeks of antibiotics and that any remaining symptoms probably are not related to an ongoing infection is truly frustrating. Patients can feel they are being told they are crazy. Just because Chronic Lyme disease is not a widely recognized medical diagnosis what is truly the frustrating part is danger that statement makes to Chronic Lyme patients. If left untreated, Lyme disease can and will be fatal. That is the sad and often ignored truth.
Chronic Lyme disease: distinguishing from Lyme Disease, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, controversial statements, prevention, & life impacts
There are 3 stages of Lyme disease:
is called early disseminated Lyme disease. The bacteria have begun to
spread throughout the body.
“Symptoms of the second stage of Lyme disease usually appear within several weeks after the tick bite, even in someone who has not developed the initial rash. Symptoms can include: fatigue and achiness may be accompanied by headache, swelling and pain in the large joints, and general malaise”.
“The Lyme disease at this stage can also affect: the heart and cause chest discomfort along with an abnormal heart rhythm; the central nervous system causing numbness and tingling in the extremities.”
---Family Health Associates
There are 3 stages of Lyme disease:
is called early localized Lyme disease. The infection has
not yet spread throughout the body.
“Usually at this stage comes a rash that typically looks like a “bull’s-eye” appearance that can show up anywhere on the body not just at the scene of the bite. The rash itself occurs within one to two weeks of infection, but likely to develop as much as thirty days after the tick bite”.
“The rash usually resolves in about a month. Although this rash is considered typical of Lyme disease, many people may never develop the rash”.
“Along with the rash, there may be flu-like symptoms such as: swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches.”
---Family Health Associates
Treatment of Chronic Lyme disease
According to Lyme Disease Research misdiagnoses can contribute to chronic Lyme disease when doctors subscribe medications for diseases or conditions they believe their patients have, but in fact they do not and they may go wrongly misdiagnosed for years. The patient, for their part, may continue being sick with Chronic Lyme disease, never understanding why the medicines they consume are not making them any better.
“Chronic Lyme infections require long term use of antibiotics – several months up to 2 years and beyond. Depending on your condition and symptoms, treatment may require IM (intra-muscular) or IV (intra-venous) antibiotics, and/or various combinations of oral antibiotics to treat Chronic Lyme.”---
"Most patients who are treated in later stages of the disease also respond well to antibiotics. In a few patients, symptoms of persisting infection may continue or recur, making additional antibiotic treatment necessary. If the patient does not receive antibiotics for a long enough period of time, the symptoms may become chronic due to the bacteria's ability to pull up a protective shell around itself as protection against the antibiotics and the patient's own immune response system, only to emerge later. Varying degrees of permanent damage to joints or the nervous system can develop in patients with late chronic Lyme disease."---
There are some combinations of antibiotics that seem to work better, but unfortunately there really are not a lot of studies looking at the best regimens to treat Chronic Lyme disease.
Sadly, because most doctors do not recognize Chronic Lyme disease as a real medical condition, the need for treatment for patients is put off or often not given at all.
There are 3 stages of Lyme disease:
is called late disseminated Lyme disease. The bacteria have spread
throughout the body.
“Symptoms of stage three Lyme can occur months or years after the infection and resemble many problems of both stage 1 and 2 with additions of affecting digestion, reproductive system, skin, the central nervous system (brain), the peripheral nervous system (nerves), the cardiovascular system (heart), low grade fevers, sleep disturbance, light or sound sensitivity, sharp stabbing or shooting pains, abnormal muscle movement, speech problems, and thinking (cognitive) dysfunction.”
Family Health Associates
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi.
The disease is spread from the bite of a tick that harbors the bacterial infection from feeding upon mice or deer. (Side note for viewers: Being bitten by an infected tick does not always mean that you will get Lyme disease).
In most cases in the U.S., a tick must be attached to your body for 24-48 hours to spread the bacteria to your blood.
Controversial Issue of Chronic Lyme
Chronic Lyme is the controversial third-stage of this multi-stage illness.
There is a controversy surrounding Lyme disease which has prevented many people from being diagnosed with the disease and from being treated appropriately for the disease. The essence of the controversy is persistence of infection versus autoimmunity.
"First viewpoint says that Lyme disease is hard to catch and easy to cure. They promote short-term antibiotic treatment regimens (a few weeks) that often are not effective for those who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease. The patients sometimes remain symptomatic after that course of treatment. When that happens with other diseases, patients are often given longer courses of antibiotics. However, those holding this viewpoint, the ISDA (Infectious Diseases Society of America) and insurance companies, have proceeded to take a strong actions to prevent Lyme patients from receiving any more antibiotics. Their claim is any remaining symptoms are “autoimmune” in nature, not persistent infection."
"The other viewpoint is held by physicians who are treating Chronic Lyme patients. They recognize that scientific research shows that even after longer term treatment (more than the few weeks) with antibiotics, some of the Lyme bacteria can survive (persistent infection). They also recognize that although, some symptoms can be the result of an autoimmune cascade, that cascade is driven by a small amount of bacteria that remain after treatment. These treating physicians have found that repeated courses of antibiotics and combinations of antibiotics (which attack in different ways) often help patients to become self-sufficient and regain functionality in society."
“An argument used against long-term treatment is that prolonged antibiotic use develops resistant bacteria. That claim has not been proven. In fact, antibiotic resistance generally develops as a result of improper usage of the antibiotic- not taking enough, thus the admonition to patients to “take all of your antibiotics that are prescribed, do not stop taking them when you feel better.”
In some cases, patients find great difficulty in getting a Lyme disease diagnosis, because there is controversy that surrounds such a diagnosis, especially for patients who don't suffer symptoms until long after they were possibly bitten by a tick.
---Lyme Disease Association
This scanning electron micrograph from Wadsworth Center; New York state department of health --- shows spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, causative agent of Lyme disease. While only 0.2-0.3 micrometers wide, the cell length may exceed 15 to 20 micrometers.
Chronic Lyme Disease
Deer have been identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a critical link in the life of the parasite that carries the bacteria known to cause Lyme disease in humans.
-NIC Photography (https://www.facebook.com/pages/NIC-Photography/553186744732014)
Music by: MercyMe
If you are interested in finding out more about Rachel's walk through Chronic Lyme and more visit her page: https://radicalroad.wordpress.com/