Stay Safe While Taking Antibiotics for Lyme Disease

Taking Antibiotics for Lyme Disease

If you have been diagnosed with Lyme Disease or your doctor suspects you have been exposed to Lyme Disease but you don’t yet have a positive test result, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics. This is a necessary treatment to kill the bacteria causing the disease.

If treated early and if you finish the full course of antibiotics, you have a good chance of a speedy and full recovery. Whether you are diagnosed early or later in the disease antibiotics will likely be used.

Any time you take antibiotics it is important to take them carefully and to deal with side effects that are common. Here is a list of questions that you can ask your doctor any time he prescribes an antibiotic and some discussion of how to take these important drugs.Pills

Questions you can ask your doctor include:

Why do I need antibiotics?
What are the side effects of this antibiotic?
Can I do anything to prevent the side effects?
How do I take the antibiotic?
Do I take it at a certain time of day?
Do I take it with food?
Will the antibiotic interfere with any other medicines?
Will anything happen if I take this with other medicines, certain foods, or alcohol?
Do I need to refrigerate antibiotics?
Are there any special storage instructions?

If you need to take antibiotics, always tell your doctor or pharmacist about other medicines or dietary supplements you are taking. Be sure to talk about any special diet you may be following, any food or drug allergies you may have, and any health problems you have. And make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

How do I take antibiotics?

When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic:

Take it exactly as directed. Always take the exact amount that the label says to take. If the label says to take the medicine at a certain time, follow these directions. Take it for as long as prescribed. You might feel better after you take it for a few days. But it is important to keep taking the antibiotic as directed. You need the full prescription to get rid of those bacteria that are a bit stronger and survive the first few days of treatment.

Bacteria that an antibiotic cannot kill (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) can develop if you (and many other people) take only part of an antibiotic prescription.

Antibiotics generally are safe. But it is important to watch for side effects. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. In women, antibiotics can lead to vaginal yeast infections. In rare cases, antibiotics can cause a dangerous allergic reaction that requires emergency care.

If the antibiotic causes side effects that really bother you, ask your doctor if treatment can help you deal with the side effects. Some minor side effects are hard to avoid, but if they are more severe, discuss them with your doctor. Or ask your doctor if another antibiotic will work as well but not cause these effects.
– via eMedicineHealth

Probiotics for Antibiotic Side Effects

Antibiotics kill bacteria, all bacteria. This means as they move through your body they kill both the bad bacteria that is causing the Lyme Disease and the good bacteria that keep your gut healthy. When antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in your gut, you can develop stomach issues, including diarrhea. This makes recovery from the original illness more difficult because it weakens your body in an overall sense.

Probiotics can be taken to minimize this side effect. Doctors have encouraged patients to take probiotics with antibiotics (as well as after finishing the course of treatment) for a number of years now. Probiotics are safe and often effective. They replace the good bacteria that our body benefits from during digestion. Here is a discussion of the way probiotics work and what types are available.

Probiotics

To some, taking probiotics during a course of antibiotics might seem contraindicated. After all, won’t the antibiotics just kill all of the probiotics anyways?

First, keep in mind that probiotics don’t need to actually colonize the gut to be beneficial; even transient strains can have powerful therapeutic effects. There are quite a few randomized, placebo-controlled trials that have demonstrated the effectiveness of probiotic use during a course of antibiotics for reducing side effects and preventing gut infection…

For example, a study on 135 hospital patients taking antibiotics found that only 12% of the probiotic-receiving group developed antibiotic-associated diarrhea, compared with 34% of the placebo group. Additionally, while 17% of the placebo group developed diarrhea specifically from C. difficile, nobody in the probiotic group did.

One interesting study tracked changes in gut bacteria in three different groups of people receiving antibiotics, with one group receiving placebo, one group receiving probiotics beginning after the antibiotic treatment ended, and the third group receiving probiotics both during and after antibiotic use.

The group receiving placebo had significantly higher levels of facultative anaerobes (their chosen marker for gut dysbiosis) 20 days after finishing antibiotics compared with baseline, while the two groups receiving probiotics had no significant difference. But even though both of the probiotic groups ended up back at baseline levels, only the group taking probiotics during as well as after antibiotic treatment maintained stable levels of facultative anaerobes throughout the experiment. In the group receiving probiotics only after completion of antibiotic treatment, facultative anaerobes increased significantly during antibiotic treatment, and decreased only after beginning probiotic supplementation. This clearly demonstrates the importance of taking probiotics during antibiotic treatment, as well as after.

Most of these trials used different strains of Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, or Saccharomyces boulardii. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most common genera used as probiotics, so these supplements are readily available in most health food stores or vitamin shops. S. boulardii is actually a beneficial yeast rather than a bacteria, so it’s particularly useful during antibiotic treatment because the antibiotics can’t kill it. S. boulardii is also preferable under these circumstances because there’s no risk of it harboring genes for antibiotic resistance and later transferring those genes to pathogenic bacteria.

Another option for probiotics is a blend of soil-based organisms, such as Prescript Assist. I haven’t located any studies on their effectiveness in conjunction with antibiotics, but based on my clinical experience, I believe they’re a great choice.

As with anything else, the best probiotic to take will depend on a person’s particular circumstances (such as the antibiotic they’re on and the state of their digestive system), but the two supplements I recommend most often are S. boulardii and Prescript Assist. If you don’t do well on either of those supplements or just wish to add more variety, feel free to add in a supplement with strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Do your best to take any probiotic supplement as far away from your antibiotic dose as possible.
– via Chris Kresser

Have you ever taken probiotics while taking an antibiotic?

Advice About How To Talk To Your Doctor about Lyme Disease

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is serious and can be difficult to diagnose. If you have any symptoms of Lyme Disease or have had the tell-tale bulls eye rash you should be seen by a doctor and tested right away.

If you have been bitten by a tick it is even more important to see a doctor and be tested since the sooner you receive antibiotics for Lyme Disease the better chance you have of a speedy and full recovery.

Before you go to the doctor do some reading about Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment so you have some idea of how to talk to your doctor about it and what tests to ask for. Don’t hesitate to ask to be seen by a Lyme disease specialist if you believe you have the disease.

Doctors in our country today are always pressed for time. They have so many requirements by the government and insurance companies that their time to listen to the patient has been reduced to what seems like seconds. In the excerpt below are some ideas for how to communicate effectively with your doctor so you can be sure he really hears your concerns and you can get the care you need.

Remember when it comes to your health, you have to take the lead and be your own advocate.

Prioritize your concerns.

Know that your doctor may not have time to answer all 50 of your questions, so ask them in order of importance. “When a patient prioritizes their concerns it tells me they have very specific health interests, and they understand we’re both working with limited resources,” Joshi says. “It also tells me you respect my time and allows us to focus on what concerns you most about your medical situation.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for another appointment.

Ultimately, you want all of your concerns addressed with ample time and attention. So rather than trying to rush through your list of questions, if you don’t finish, ask for a follow-up appointment. Joshi says it’s not uncommon for patients to remember something they wanted to talk about as the doctor is getting ready to leave the room. In that situation, the doctor has a choice – address the concern quickly, possibly sacrificing good clinical care, or setting up another opportunity to discuss the issue. As a patient, you can take the reins by requesting a follow-up.

Be willing to communicate outside the exam room.

“Never underestimate the power of communication that’s not necessarily face-to-face,” says Joshi, who recommends patients ask their doctors whether they are willing to email. “Many physicians love that. I personally love that. That freedom allows me to instantaneously communicate with patients when I have the time for them.” Email or communication through a patient portal is particularly useful when a face-to-face appointment has already occurred and you have questions about what was discussed, or your treatment instructions.
– via US News & World Report

Additional Tips for Getting the Help You Need From Your Doctor

Here are more ideas for getting a good result from your doctor visit when you suspect you have Lyme Disease.

Clear communication and getting your doctor to really pay attention is key to a successful visit. You need your doctor’s help to recover from Lyme Disease so put in the time to get his attention and be sure that you are heard.

The suggestion below of bringing a family member or friend is particularly important and helpful if you have symptoms that are making you feel ill. When you are sick it is hard to think clearly and communicate everything that is important to you. If you and your friend discuss before the appointment what is most important, then they can help keep the doctor visit on track.

Check out these suggestions and keep them in mind when you see the doctor.

Share symptoms.

Even if you feel fine, it’s still important for you to let your doctor know if you’re having any symptoms that are new, or are “bigger” than they used to be. This includes any side effects from prescribed medications.

Ask questions.

If you don’t understand something your doctor has told you, speak up. Also, don’t be afraid to ask “should I be worried about” types of questions

Take notes, or bring along a family member or close friend.

Taking notes during your visit (or making a recording of your visit with your doctor’s permission) can come in handy later when you’re trying to remember exactly what your doctor told you. If you have a lot of questions walking in the door, writing them down ahead of time can help you make sure you cover everything during your visit. In some cases, it may make sense to ask a close friend or family member to join you for at least a portion of your appointment. Their extra set of ears can prove helpful later, and in cases where your anxiety is elevated, a friend or family member can help you think of questions you might not remember to ask otherwise.
– via Guadalupe Regional Medical Center

Have you been seeing a doctor for Lyme Disease? Have you found any tips that help you get your doctor’s ear?

Natural Remedies To Ease Lyme Disease Symptoms

Natural Remedies Could Help Reduce Lyme Disease Symptoms

For many people who develop Lyme Disease and are treated early the short course of antibiotics rids their bodies of the disease and their symptoms leave. For others, however, particularly if they are diagnosed late in the infection treatment is more difficult and symptoms can linger for months.

Anytime your body is dealing with an infection your immune system along with other bodily systems like your digestive system are weakened by the disease. When using antibiotic treatment, as in the case of Lyme disease, your systems can be weakened by the medication itself.

So for both of these reasons it makes sense to give your body help in the form of nutritional supplements to build it up so that you can fight off the disease more effectively and end it sooner.

Lyme Disease is a serious illness caused by a bacteria and the need to take the initial round of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor is very real. We are not suggesting that you forgo antibiotic treatment and attempt to kill the bacteria without medication. This could be lead to worse infection and dangerous repercussions.

The list of nutritional supplements below may be useful to add to your antibiotic treatment to strengthen your immune system, your gut and to lesson the symptoms themselves. We hope you find it helpful.

Nutritional Supplements That May Be Useful in the Treatment of Lyme Disease

Probiotics to improve immunity and restore microflora during and after antibiotics

Curcumin is helpful at reducing neurological toxins and brain swelling

Astaxanthin to neutralize toxins, improve vision, and relieve joint pain, common in Lyme

Whey protein concentrate may help with nutrition, often poor in Lyme patients who don’t feel well enough to eat properly

Grapefruit seed extract
may treat the cyst form of Borrelia

Krill oil to reduce inflammation

Cilantro as a natural chelator for heavy metals

Serrapeptase helps to break biofilms

Resveratrol may treat Bartonella, a co-infection and also helps detoxification

GABA and melatonin to help with insomnia

Artemisinin and Andrographis, two herbs that may treat Babesia, a common co-infection

CoQ10 to support cardiac health and reduce muscle pain and brain fog

Quercetin reduces histamine (often high in Lyme)

Transfer factors can help boost immune function
– via Mercola.com

Additional Natural Ways to Help Recover From Lyme Disease

Here are several other natural ways to help your body recover from Lyme Disease. Some help the antibiotics do their work of killing the bacteria, others help your body deal with the antibiotic treatment and also help ease the symptoms while you recover.

Natural Ways to Deal with Lyme

Acupuncture:

While researchers admit more research is warranted, acupuncture appears to be a promising way to help reduce or eliminate pain brought on by Lyme disease.

Lyme-killing plants:

According to the report, herbs like samento, banderol, andrographis, Japanese knotweed/resveratrol, smilax, cat’s claw, and Stephania all target Lyme and related tick-borne infections. Be sure to talk to a doctor knowledgeable in integrative medicine for more info on taking these herbs.

Have tea time:

Green tea compounds, along with curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, are known to reduce oxidative stress and help aid in traditional antibiotic treatment.

Be tested for deficiencies:

Zinc, B, and D vitamin deficiencies could slow down Lyme recovery, so be sure to ask your doctor to test for these, and improve your diet or supplement accordingly to bring your numbers up to healthy levels.

Probiotics:

Probiotic foods may help replenish beneficial bacteria in the gut that are wiped out by antibiotic Lyme disease treatment. Organic yogurt, kefir, and even fermented vegetables are good sources of probiotics.

Exercise:

Even small concentrations of oxygen can help destroy Lyme bacteria in the body. Although Lyme typically zaps people’s energy, intense exercise during and after treatment can help keep the disease at bay.

Inflammation annihilators:

Dr. Eliaz recommends natural compounds that ease inflammation, such as curcumin, modified citrus pectin, and Tibetan Herbal Formula.
– via Rodale Wellness

Would you consider adding natural treatments into your routine treatment for Lyme Disease?

Has Your Dog Tested Positive For Lyme Disease?

When To Get Your Dog Tested for Lyme Disease

If you live in an area where Lyme Disease is common you may be concerned not only for yourself and your family but also for your dog. That is a legitimate concern. Dogs do get Lyme disease. When they do they need treatment as soon as possible to get the best outcome. Late treatment is not as effective and can result in years of ongoing pain for your dog.

Since our pets can’t talk to us we often have to read their behavior to make judgements regarding their health. In the excerpt below, there is a good explanation of symptoms you could see in your dog if they have Lyme Disease and how it is commonly treated. If your dog has been bitten by a tick be sure to remove it carefully, immediately and pay a visit to your vet to have them tested.rottweiler-puppy_M1Sd_Ddd

What are the clinical signs?

Many people with Lyme disease develop a characteristic “bull’s-eye” rash at the site of the bite within three to thirty days. If this occurs, the disease can be easily diagnosed at an early stage.

Symptoms of Lyme disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people. The characteristic rash does not develop in dogs or cats. Because the other symptoms of the disease may be delayed or go unrecognized and because the symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases, Lyme disease in animals is often not considered until other diseases have been eliminated.

Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were “walking on eggshells.”

Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later. Some pets are infected with the Lyme disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be widespread throughout the body.

How is Lyme disease diagnosed?

Dogs with lameness, swollen joints, and fever are suspected of having Lyme disease. However, other diseases may also cause these symptoms. There are two blood tests that may be used for confirmation.

The first is an antibody test. This test does not detect the actual spirochete in the blood but does detect the presence of antibodies created by exposure to the organism. A test can be falsely negative if the dog is infected but has not yet formed antibodies, or if it never forms enough antibodies to cause a positive reaction. This may occur in animals with suppressed immune systems. Some dogs that have been infected for long periods of time may no longer have enough antibodies present to be detected by the test. Therefore, a positive test is meaningful, but a negative is not.

– via VCA Animal Hospitals

Treatment and Prevention of Canine Lyme Disease

What happens if tests show your dog has Lyme Disease? How will your vet treat your pet? Perhaps the most important question is how can you prevent your dog from ever getting Lyme Disease? Answers to these questions and more are below to help you.labrador-puppy-dog-in-river_GkmabDOO

Canine Lyme disease is a complicated and often confusing disease.

How is canine Lyme disease treated?

The clinical signs of Lyme disease are treated with antibiotics, and often the symptoms will resolve within 3 days of therapy.  A tetracycline antibiotic called doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is used to treat Lyme disease.  It is often chosen over other potentially effective antibiotics because it is likely to be better at treating additional bacteria that may have co-infected the pet (it is thought in hot-spot Lyme areas that 50% of ticks that are infected with Lyme bacteria are also infected with another worrisome bacteria called Anaplasma phagocicytophilium (formerly called Ehrlichia equi).

Is therapy 100% effective?

Unfortunately, the answer is likely no.  Some dogs that are treated with months or even years of doxycycline still show positive antibody levels in the future.  Despite treatment, the infection can “hide” out in the body for years and always has the potential to cause future problems.  Newer evidence shows, however, that treatment with antibiotics, especially closer to the time of infection, may lower the antibody levels faster than they would fall without treatment.  Recent preliminary evidence indicates that lowering the antibody levels may reduce the risk of developing kidney failure in the future.

How do I prevent Lyme infections to my pet?

Tick Removal.

It takes time for an infected deer tick to transmit Lyme bacteria to a pet.  Normally infection will not happen any sooner than 48-72 hours from the beginning of a blood meal.  While daily tick removal would theoretically be the best at reducing risk of Lyme disease, this is very impractical in most dogs, especially the furrier breeds, as most stages of the deer tick are so small that we wouldn’t even notice them on our own skin.  (If you do find ticks on your pet, it is always advised to use gloves during removal as there is some potential for transmission to you from the tick.)

Application of a tick control product.

Since the highly infective nymph stages of the tick can transmit the disease after only about 5 warm days in the spring and infections can extend through the fall into the winter, we recommend applying a tick prevention product once monthly from March through November.

Vaccination for Lyme disease.

We have a highly effective Lyme vaccine that can be given to pets 9 weeks and older.  Although some studies indicate our Lyme vaccine is nearly 100% efficacious, we also recommend using a tick prevention product as outlined above.  Used together, we think this is the best way to protect your pet from Lyme infections and disease.
– via www.wagsandwhiskers.com

Have you had your pet vacinated for Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease in Children

FAQs about Lyme Disease In Children

When you have children you know that they play outside every day. So if you live in an area of the country where the ticks that carry Lyme disease are prevalent this disease is a concern for you.

In the excerpt below we see important questions answered about children and Lyme Disease. These will be helpful to you.happy children group in school

FAQ

Q: Will my child be OK?

A: Most likely. Caught early, the vast majority of children make a full recovery.

Q: Is Lyme disease contagious?

A: No, not from person-to-person. You can only get Lyme disease from being bitten from a tick that is carrying the bacteria.

Q: Can my child be diagnosed with Lyme disease if there’s no evidence of a tick bite?

A: Yes, many people with Lyme disease are diagnosed without any knowledge of a tick bite, if there’s a possibility that they may have been exposed to one of the bacteria-carrying ticks.

Q: Is there a vaccine for Lyme disease?

A: There used to be, but it was taken off the market in 2002. No vaccine for Lyme disease is currently available.

Q: Is Lyme disease chronic?

A: Doctors don’t believe that Lyme disease is chronic, but some children experience what’s called “post-infectious syndrome.” This is a condition that occurs after many bacterial and viral infections, including mononucleosis and hepatitis A.

There’s a wide range of symptoms that your child could experience from post-infectious syndrome, but some of the more common ones include:

feeling fatigued
weakness
joint aches and pains
shooting pains
headaches
difficulty sleeping
problems concentrating
– via www.childrenshospital.org

Preventing Lyme Disease in Children

Having information about what to do if you think your child has been exposed to Lyme Disease or if they currently have Lyme Disease is very helpful.

Even more important is knowing how to prevent Lyme Disease in children so that they and your family never face that horrible illness. Below are a number of steps you can take to help prevent your child from being exposed to Lyme Disease.

How can Lyme disease be prevented?

Humans do not develop an immunity to LD and reinfection is possible. In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved a new vaccine against Lyme disease called LYMErix. The vaccine was not 100 percent effective, however, and the FDA still recommended using other preventive measures. In 2002, the manufacturer of LYMErix announced that the vaccine would no longer be available commercially.

Some general guidelines for preventing LD include the following:

Ticks cannot bite through clothing; dress your child and family in:

Light-colored clothing

Long-sleeved shirts tucked into pants

Socks and closed-toe shoes

Long pants with legs tucked into socks

Check your family often for ticks, including:

All parts of the body that bend: behind the knees, between fingers and toes, underarms, and groin

Other areas where ticks are commonly found: belly button, in and behind the ears, neck, hairline, and top of the head

Areas of pressure points, including:

Where underwear elastic waist band touches the skin

Where bands from pants or skirts touch the skin

Anywhere else where clothing presses on the skin

Visually check all other areas of the body and hair, and run fingers gently over skin. Run a fine-toothed comb through your child’s hair to check for ticks.
– via childrensnational.org

Do you have a plan to help prevent your children from being exposed to Lyme Disease?

Do You Need Lyme Disease Preventative Antibiotics?

Knowing When to Take Antibiotics for Lyme Disease

The idea of getting Lyme disease from a tick bite is frightening. It’s clear that the earlier you are treated the better chance you have of a full and rapid recovery. Since Lyme disease tests don’t provide accurate results early on and can be unreliable how can you know when you need treatment?

In the excerpt below Dr. Jonathan Edlow, an emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, answers questions from Sacha Pfeiffer regarding early treatment of Lyme disease.Pills

So if there’s a concern that a patient may have been exposed to Lyme disease, but it’s too early for that patient to have symptoms, what is the treatment?

The treatment for a tick bite — assuming that the tick has been on you for at least 24 hours [but] it hasn’t been on you for more than 72 hours, and it’s a deer tick — would be 200 milligrams of Doxycycline for an older child or an adult. Treatment at that stage is really to prevent Lyme disease.

But if a person is showing Lyme symptoms, such as a rash or a fever and muscle aches, is that patient beyond the window of time in which a small dose of antibiotics can possibly help?

That’s correct. The 200-milligram dose of Doxycycline is to prevent Lyme disease. What you’re describing — having symptoms of a rash or a fever — that’s established Lyme disease and requires a longer course of antibiotics.

What about the message that the medical community has been sending for years — that overuse of antibiotics can contribute to the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Could we be contributing to that problem by having people take small doses of antibiotics as soon as they think they’ve been bitten?

I think taking a 200-milligram dose of Doxycycline one time is very unlikely to contribute to all of the badness that we are creating on our planet based on resistance patterns of antibiotics. To the extent that we’re preventing a disease that we would then be treating for 10 days or two weeks or three weeks of antibiotics, we’re eliminating the need for a longer course of antibiotics.
– via wbur

Prevention is Even Better Than Cure

It’s good to know that Doxycycline can be used to prevent the start of Lyme disease if you have been bitten by a deer tick and can be used to treat the disease over a longer course once it starts. However, the best course is to prevent getting Lyme disease.

If you live in an area where Lyme disease is common or visit one and are outdoors in areas where ticks could thrive, the suggestions below about preventing infection and when to seek medical treatment are worth consideration.Pills

Perform a tick check and remove attached ticks:

The transmission of B. burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) from an infected tick is unlikely to occur before 36 hours of tick attachment. For this reason, daily checks for ticks and promptly removing any attached tick that you find will help prevent infection. Embedded ticks should be removed using fine-tipped tweezers. DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. The tick’s mouthparts may remain in the skin, but do not be alarmed. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are contained in the tick’s midgut. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

Taking preventive antibiotics after a tick bite:

The relative cost-effectiveness of post-exposure treatment of tick bites to avoid Lyme disease in endemic areas (areas where the disease is known to occur regularly) is dependent on the probability of B. burgdorferi infection after a tick bite. In most circumstances, treating persons who only have a tick bite is not recommended. Individuals who are bitten by a deer tick should remove the tick and seek medical attention if any signs and symptoms of early Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, or babesiosis develop over the ensuing days or weeks.
– via MedicineNet

Do you do daily tick checks for yourself and your family when you have spent time outdoors?

Can Lyme Disease Become Chronic?

Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real?

There has been an ongoing debate for years about the issue of Chronic Lyme disease. There are patients who continue to have symptoms long after finishing the course of antibiotics to treat the infection.

Sadly, many of those who are living with these symptoms have been dismissed by the medical community or treated as hypochondriacs and are left to try to deal with their illness on their own.

Recently it has come to light that the symptoms they experience are real and are medical in nature but are usually caused by coinfections that have not been treated.

Also, all too common are people who are treated late in the disease because it is missed entirely in the beginning.

CHRONIC CO-INFECTIONS 

The recent rise of integrative strategies for treating Lyme comes on the heels of a decades-long fight over the very nature of the disease. The dispute revolved around two key questions: Are Lyme-disease tests accurate? And, can Lyme disease be chronic — that is, can Lyme spirochetes survive two to four weeks of antibiotic therapy and  then continue to make patients sick?

While the debate continues, the National Institute of Standards and Technology last year hosted a workshop to spur development of better tests to more accurately diagnose the disease. And recent peer-reviewed studies strongly suggest that small quantities of the spirochete can survive a short course of antibiotics when infection is treated late.

Yet for patients and their doctors, a core issue remains: Even if some spirochetes survive the onslaught of antibiotics, will more antibiotics purge remaining infection and return the patients to wellness — or are different treatments needed as well?

Limited studies give mixed grades to longer-term antibiotics. Many patients report a positive response but still agree they needed to go beyond these drugs to get completely well. Richard Horowitz, MD, author of Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme & Chronic Disease, estimates that 75 percent of his patients respond to antibiotic therapies, but he agrees that antibiotics alone will not cure some patients.

Since the tests are especially unreliable in the earliest stages of the disease, it’s all too easy for patients to slip through the cracks and join the ranks of the late-diagnosed. Of those, an estimated 20 percent fail the short-term treatment and become chronically ill.

The fallout of Lyme and associated co-infections can inflame the immune system, destabilize hormones, cause sleep disorders, and challenge the well-functioning brain. If not balanced with probiotics, antibiotics can disrupt the microbiome of the gut and cause diarrhea and yeast infections.
– via Experience Life

A Heated Debate

The patients are in the middle of a heated debate in the medical community. The Centers for Disease Control is on one side of the issue along with many doctors stating that chronic lyme disease does not exist but instead the patient’s body is causing the symptoms.

On the other side are doctors who specialize in treating Lyme Disease and see the prolonged symptoms more often. They work on courses of treatment trying to bring patients suffering (many times for years) with fatigue, joint pain, sleep and thinking disorders and many other symptoms back to health.

The mainstream medical community doesn’t recognize a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, nor does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s chief public health agency. Instead, the CDC says patients whose fatigue, pain and other symptoms last longer than six months have Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, despite having completed the typically curative two- to four-week antibiotic regimen.

The controversy is more than just a name game. Supporters of chronic Lyme disease believe patients’ stubborn symptoms are due to persistent or new infections caused by Borrelia burgdorferi – the bacterium that triggers Lyme. As a result, “Lyme literate doctors” often prescribe long-term antibiotic treatments for patients like Eisenhart at a time when antibiotic overuse is being blamed for spawning drug-resistant superbugs.

“Our general recommendation [is] to avoid long courses of antibiotic therapy,” which can be dangerous, says Dr. Paul Mead, chief of epidemiology and surveillance for the CDC’s Lyme disease program. In fact, four clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health found no evidence that extended antibiotic therapy is beneficial or safe for patients whose health woes persist after being treated for Lyme disease, Mead adds.

Dr. Samuel Shor, chair of the Loudoun County Lyme Commission and associate clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Health Care Sciences in the District of Columbia, is among the handful of medical professionals who believe the disease itself can be chronic, caused by ongoing or new infection by B. burgdorferi – not a patient’s overactive immune system. Complicating matters, he says, is that the blood test used to diagnose patients with Lyme disease isn’t always accurate, meaning people could be told they are infection-free when that is not the case.

“The paradox is that the immune system is suppressed by the disease, which the blood test is screening for,” Shor explains. “Even if you’ve got bona fide Lyme disease, 1 out of every 2 patients is going to be told they don’t have it.”
– via US News & World Report

If you have the symptoms of Lyme disease have you seen a Lyme specialized doctor?

Tips For Better Living With Lyme Disease

You Will Get Better!

If you’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease and are undergoing treatment, you may be dealing with some uncomfortable symptoms and side effects. It’s important to maintain a positive attitude, and remember that treatment with Lyme disease can take some time, but you will be successful eventually!

This treatment period won’t last forever, and in the meantime you can do a few things to manage your symptoms the best that you can. Here’s a look at a few things you can do to make yourself more comfortable during your Lyme disease treatment.

Hot weather  – many people with Lyme Disease find that they get sicker in hot weather.  For this reason if you live in a hot climate you will need to stay indoors (in air-conditioning if you can) during the day, and go outside after the sun has gone down and the temperature has dropped.  Hot humid weather is often more difficult to cope with than hot dry weather.

Hot flushes / Night Sweats – if you are struggling with a Babesia coinfection and are having difficulty getting through the night due to hot flushes and night sweats, I would recommend a small portable fan beside your bed.  When you are hot sleep facing the fan, and when you cool down roll over and sleep facing the opposite direction.  This will help you control your body temperature more easily during the night.

Diet – many people with Lyme disease have to be very careful with their diet.  This is because Lyme Disease affects the immune system, and because of the side affects of the medications used to treat Lyme Disease.  If you are taking oral antibiotics it is vital that you do not eat sugar – this is because oral antibiotics kill all the bacteria in the gut – good and bad bacteria.  If you eat sugar you feed mainly the bad bacteria (they love sugar) and run the risk of getting a clostridium difficile infection, which is potentially fatal.

In order to heal from Lyme Disease it is important that your immune system is functioning at its best.  When you eat or drink sugar based food and drink your immune system is temporarily depressed for up to 12 hours.  Many people with Lyme disease have damaged gastrointestinal systems, and so need to avoid foods that place extra stress on the gut such as gluten (wheat) and dairy.
– via Living with Lyme Disease

A Lyme Disease Story

Everyone’s Lyme disease experience is their own. Let’s take a look at a story from a hunter who contracted the disease, and how he handled his diagnosis.

Chad Davis shares how he was tested, “I went in to the walk in clinic to be tested for the flu. It came back negative. I honestly told them about me being in the woods a lot and that I had been bitten several times already in the year. They didn’t run a Lyme test. They actually thought I had a prostate infection, even though not a lot pointed to that diagnosis.”

“They put me on a 14-day round of antibiotics for the supposed prostate infection,” Chad says. “At 14 days, I was even worse. After the 14th day, I went to my family doctor and asked them to run a basic blood test and to run a Lyme test. By that time, I had remembered the tick that had been on me for about 48 hours from my Kentucky hunt. I actually work for BioRad Laboratories, and believe it or not, BioRad makes one of the most popular test assays for Lyme.

“The kit is very sensitive and specific to detect the IgG and IgM antibodies to Lyme,” Chad explains.

“IgM antibodies are produced rapidly by our bodies to attack the presence of Lyme or other diseases. That is usually when one has the fever and chill symptoms. Those antibodies will drop in number and the body will the produce IgM antibodies. These can simply cause one to feel weak and lethargic.

“Most labs check to see if someone had contracted a particular disease a long while ago, by checking/testing for IgM antibodies. For early, more immediate detection, IgG antibody assays (tests) are used. The BioRad test actually will test for both antibody types, IgG and IgM, for early or late detection that other tests may miss.

“Luckily, this is the assay/test kit used to detect and diagnose my contraction of the disease. I was glad that I knew where my testing was going to be conducted! Two days later I got the call that I was tested positive for Lyme.”
– via North American Whitetail

Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? Have you ever gotten a tick bite?

The Great Imitator – How Lyme Disease Can Hide

Lyme Disease Masquerades as Other Conditions

One of the most troubling things about Lyme disease is the difficulty of diagnosis. If you suspect you have Lyme disease, seeking out a doctor who has Lyme experience would be a wise choice. Let’s take a look at how Lyme disease can be diagnosed as other illnesses.

Because the disease is so complex, and symptoms are similar to so many illnesses, Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed. Thus, patients who are being treated for other illnesses without success, such as hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, should consider Lyme disease as a possible cause.

What tests do I need?

A number of lab tests can be done to determine if a patient has Lyme disease, including the Western Blot and the ELISA test. But even if a patient is tested, standard testing will miss more than 90% of chronic Lyme cases. It is important to note, too, that standard Lyme disease tests are not reliable in the first few weeks following infection, because the patient’s immune system has not yet produced enough antibodies to be detected by lab tests. Additionally, proper interpretation of lab tests require that physicians have adequate understanding and specialized training on the test, the stage of illness, and the likelihood that the patient has the disease, which many doctors do not have.

The latest in Lyme testing is a newly developed and validated Lyme culture test created by Dr. Joseph Burrascano, a renowned Lyme disease specialist. Most lab tests look for the body’s response to the to the infection, or production of antibodies. The Lyme culture tests, in contrast, actually allows the Lyme bacteria to be grown outside the body in cultures, something that has not been capable until very recently. The new Lyme culture tests not only can help diagnose new cases of Lyme disease, but also can prove that lingering symptoms of Lyme disease are not due to post-Lyme syndrome, as some doctors may presume, but instead are due to the presence of active Lyme disease that has been inadequately treated.
– via Holtorf Medical Group

It’s Not All In Your Head

Sometimes, sufferers of Lyme disease aren’t diagnosed properly and instead are told that they’re symptoms are psychological. This is a real tragedy, since successful treatment is always easier, the earlier you catch the Lyme disease. If you are experiencing symptoms and your doctor can’t find a diagnosis, it makes sense to insist on considering Lyme disease as the culprit – and to seek out a Lyme disease expert to do that testing, when possible. Here’s a closer look at how Lyme disease has managed to stay invisible in many patients.

 The Invisible Illness

Many Lyme patients who battle this disease on a daily basis appear healthy, which is why Lyme disease has been called “the invisible illness.” They often “look good,” and their blood work appears normal, but their internal experience is a far different story. Patients struggling with Lyme disease usually become adept at hiding their pain from others as a way to cope and restore some degree of normalcy to their lives.

Part of the problem with diagnosing and treating Lyme disease is that it is so easy to misdiagnose.

Lyme disease is called “the great imitator,”5 mimicking other disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ALS, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease. In some cases, Lyme patients can even develop paralysis or slip into a coma. The only distinctive hallmark unique to Lyme disease is the “bulls eye” rash, but this is absent in nearly half of those infected. Laboratory tests are notoriously unreliable.

Fewer than half of Lyme patients recall a tick bite. In some studies, this number is as low as 15 percent. So, if you don’t recall seeing a tick on your body, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of Lyme disease. According to TBDA3:

“Although the bulls eye red rash is considered the classic sign to look for, it is not even the most common dermatologic manifestation of early Lyme infection. Atypical forms of this rash are seen far more commonly. It is important to know that the Erythema Migrans rash is a clear, unequivocal sign of Lyme disease…”

Besides the rash, some of the first symptoms of Lyme disease may include a flu-like condition with fever, chills, headache, stiff neck, achiness and fatigue. For a complete list of symptoms, refer to the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance6 (TBDA), but some of the more frequent symptoms include the following2:

Muscle and joint pain
Neurological problems
Heart involvement
Vision and hearing problems
Migraines
– via Mercola.com

It’s important to know that successful treatment IS possible and that the sooner you catch it, the easier it will be to treat. Have you, or someone you know, ever suffered from Lyme disease?