What is Lyme Disease?
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Lyme disease is an infection transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick.
The tick transmits a spiral shaped bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi, which can rapidly disseminate throughout the body. While the adult ticks primarily feed on deer, the nymphal (immature) ticks feed on squirrels, mice, lizards, rabbits and certain birds.
Tick bites across multiple species of animals can potentiate the spread and number of infections that are transmitted. With the transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi, there commonly are other strains of Borrelia and other associated tick borne infections that may also spread.
Early Lyme Disease
Early lyme disease refers to the symptoms that develop within the first few weeks after a tick bite.
“Bulls Eye’’ rash (within few days to weeks, red expanding rash with clear center, multiple lesions possible)
In small children, they may just be fussy
Early in the course of the infection, testing is of limited value as it takes 4-6 weeks for the body to develop antibodies. Waiting to treat it, on the other hand, will allow the infection to spread making it much more difficult to eradicate.
If you have recently been bitten by a tick, consider the following:
If you have the tick, send it to a Lyme literate lab for PCR testing
www.tickreport.com is cost effective and has show Borrelia and other tick borne infection in my patient’s ticks, which assists in understanding the necessary aggressiveness of treatment
Understand that a rash does not always appear in early Lyme Disease, so any of the above symptoms should be addressed with your doctor
If you have a rash, take pictures of it and see your doctor immediately
Treatment of a new tick bite varies between the two primary schools of thought. It is important to educate yourself in these perspectives to make the best decision for yourself or a family member.
Schools of thought: ILADS vs. IDSA
ILADS International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society
IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America) - Guidelines currently not available and up for review, previous guidelines
Chronic Lyme Disease
Chronic Lyme disease (LD) is one of the fastest growing vector borne diseases worldwide and has just recently been identified in the media as a concern for public health. Though more light is being shed on this condition, it’s existence and proper treatment continues to be hotly debated.
Chronic Lyme disease can develop over a period of weeks to years after initial exposure when the initial illness is not recognized or inadequately treated. Symptoms can be associated with the brain & spinal cord, heart, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract and/or the musculoskeletal system depending on where the borrelia organism has invaded. If you suffer from chronic LD, its devastating effects on your health and overall life are undeniable.
General Symptoms of Chronic Lyme include:
Neck stiffness, pain, spasms
Bowel disturbances (diarrhea/constipation)
Erectile dysfunction/loss of libido
Neuropsychology Symptoms of Chronic Lyme may include:
Short term memory impairment
Difficulty with word/name recall
Light and/or sound sensitivity
Our Approach to Treating Lyme Disease
Having worked with many chronic Lyme disease patients over the years it has become obvious that individuals with LD have an immunocompromised state.
Factors Causing Immuno-compromise/Inflammation:
Impairment in methylation and other detoxification pathways
Heavy metal burden
Chronic infections (Including Viruses, Mycoplasma)
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)
Unless these factors causing immuno-compromise are adequately treated, individuals do not recover from LD (or they relapse quickly once treatment is stopped). Our practice strives to tease out co-infections and immune stressors from all angles to achieve a more complete recovery.
Once we have identified the body’s stressors, we implement diet/lifestyle modifications, nutrients, herbs and pharmaceuticals when appropriate.
Treatment of Chronic Lyme Disease
Successful treatment of chronic lyme disease requires a comprehensive approach. The mainstay of treatment for chronic lyme disease has traditionally been antibiotics. The regimen is designed with the patient's symptoms in mind as well as the types of coinfections present. While antibiotics are a powerful tool, they can have potentially serious side effects. In addition, some individuals will typically relapse within weeks to months after discontinuing therapy, sometimes even after protracted intravenous antibiotics.
It is, therefore, imperative that a comprehensive treatment program be designed that addresses factors that can interfere with an individual's recovery. The presence of chronic viruses, methylation cycle defects, mold illness & mast cell activation are just some of the factors that can cause chronic inflammation to the point where most antimicrobial agents simply stop working within days to weeks.
Once the inflammation is addressed, there are a number of effective antimicrobial agents at our disposal:
Herbal antimicrobial formulations
It has been our experience that a combination approach, with or without antibiotics, can easily treat these infections when the underlying sources of inflammation have been addressed first.