Lyme disease was first discovered in Lyme, Connecticut in the mid-1970s. It was found to be the cause of a sudden epidemic of arthritis in children. It is caused by a “spirochete” (a “corkscrew-shaped” bacteria). Transmitted by tick bites, Lyme disease can make you very sick. It can even be deadly. In this article, we’re covering Lyme disease natural treatment options, other tick-borne infections, symptoms, diagnosis, and more.
It can often take years for you to fully realize what’s happening. And the longer Lyme disease goes undiagnosed and untreated, the harder it can be for you to recover fully.
Unlike a simple illness like strep throat where your doctor can obtain a swab and grow out the bacteria on a plate to make the diagnosis, Lyme disease diagnosis currently relies on tests of your body’s antibodies to the Lyme organism. See below for additional information about challenges in diagnosing Lyme disease.
People are diagnosed with Lyme disease in a conventional setting when antibodies are identified in their lab work or on the basis of a specific skin rash appearance after a tick bite. Most often, these patients are given a 2-week course of an antibiotic like Doxycycline. This helps some people recover completely.
The problem?– Some people just don’t get better. In fact, sometimes they get worse. Lyme disease patients often struggle to get relief – this is because many doctors don’t fully understand this condition and patients with chronic or unusual symptoms are sometimes told that the symptoms are in their head. This is an unfortunate situation that has happened far too many times. If you have Lyme disease or suspect you have Lyme disease – I assure you, your symptoms are not in your head.
Lyme disease can be progressive and has three stages of symptoms:
This occurs a week or two after the initial bite and includes the following symptoms:
If you don’t catch your tick bite right away, the second stage of Lyme disease can take months to progress. Second stage Lyme disease symptoms include:
This is the most serious phase of Lyme disease, which can take years to develop. It can be life-threatening. Symptoms in the final stage of Lyme disease include:
1. There is no commercially available culture to grow the bacteria. We rely on the body’s ability to make antibodies to the Lyme organism. This ability is impaired in some patients. They are more likely to have a negative test, even with active infection.
2. The Lyme spirochete has several different forms (a cyst form, a cell wall form, an intracellular form, and it can exist in a biofilm. This may help it evade (hide) from our immune system which may decrease the likelihood antibodies are made.
3. The sensitivity of common commercially available Lyme blood tests can be as low as 50%. This means it will have up to a 50% false-negative rate.
Though Lyme disease has gotten most of the attention, there is a long list of other tick-borne infections that could also be making you sick. In fact, it’s estimated that up three-quarters of all patients with Lyme disease may also have co-infections – making it very likely that if you have Lyme disease, you also have another infection.
At The Center for Fully Functional® Healthcare, we always check for other tick-borne illnesses, as well as any conditions that may have been triggered by the Lyme disease itself. Only when you know exactly what you’re dealing with, can you fully and successfully treat Lyme disease.
Different tick-borne infections have varying symptoms. Sometimes the differences in the symptoms can help point you in the right direction when searching for answers. Besides Lyme disease, here are other tick-borne infections and their distinctive symptoms:
It’s also not uncommon for Lyme disease to trigger other conditions within people. Because Lyme disease can cause a dysfunctional immune system, it can cause hibernating pathogens like the Epstein-Barr virus to reemerge. When Lyme disease reactivates other organisms, it can add to the already confusing list of symptoms and cause a complex presentation.
Treating Lyme Disease can also be quite challenging and must be personalized. The ability of the organism to evade the immune system sometimes requires a prolonged treatment course.
Compounding health issues are common with Lyme disease patients, and so we have a number of treatments that help reduce inflammation, support detoxification, and strengthen the immune system, these include:
When it comes to Lyme disease there are a lot of factors at play. The first being, you may have other tick-borne co-infections. Coinfections were largely missed by the medical community until recently. We’ve come to find out that when you get a tick bite, you’re not usually just exposed to Lyme disease. Second, other underlying infections not due to the tick bite can also cause problems. And finally, your personal body chemistry and environmental exposures play a large role in how you react and recover from Lyme disease.
With the Fully Functional® process, it is possible to cure Lyme disease. Although in some people treating Lyme disease means management over a complete remedy. Even if you have to manage your Lyme disease, you can still live a very full and healthy life by implementing the steps of the Fully Functional® process.
Lyme disease is a condition that may get worse with time. So, if you think you’ve been exposed to the Lyme disease pathogen, you should make an appointment with a specialist immediately. Remember, this is a complex and misunderstood disease – make sure you make an appointment with a Functional Medicine doctor who is experienced in Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.
The process of diagnosing Lyme disease and developing an individualized treatment plan can be a long and arduous process. However, if you complete this journey with an experienced, certified Functional Medicine doctor who can guide you along the way, it can be not only manageable but empowering. This is why we always recommend you find a Physician you trust and respect when treating your Lyme disease and tick-borne infections. You can look for Lyme disease doctors by checking the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society website.
If you are in Carmel, Indiana or the Indianapolis area and are looking for a certified Functional Medicine Physician, You can book an appointment by clicking here. We are also happy to speak with you at (317) 989-8463, Monday-Thursday, from 8AM – 5PM Eastern time.
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The Center for Fully Functional Health® is led by a team of award-winning, internationally recognized physicians, committed to providing personalized, life-changing care.