What if your doctor told you that you had been cured of your disease, despite, lingering and worsening symptoms dealing with aches and pains barely getting through your day?
Would you go back to the doctor or try a different doctor, especially if your symptoms were extremely severe, such as seizures, paralysis, or dementia? This is the frightening reality for thousands of chronic Lyme patients in America today.
Many Lyme symptoms, such as fatigue, cognitive impairment, joint pain, poor sleep, mood problems, muscle pain, and neurological presentations also occur in other diseases. Hence, the symptoms of Lyme disease significantly overlap those of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Many Lyme patients report being misdiagnosed with a different condition before being properly diagnosed with Lyme disease.
One of the many diseases that Lyme imitates is multiple sclerosis. Having lesions on the brain is actually a condition, rather than a disease in itself. A neurologist now told one chronic Lyme patient for more than 16 years: “You could say you have MS.”
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection you get from the bite of an infected tick. Over 30,000 confirmed cases are reported yearly to the CDC.
- A headache
- A stiff neck
- A fever and chills
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Red bulls eye and expanding rash called erythema migrans (EM)
Lyme Disease can be hard to diagnose. The course of therapy is antibiotics, which cure most cases. The sooner your treatment begins, the quicker and more complete the recovery. Yet, there is a great amount of evidence supporting the persistence of Lyme after short-course antibiotic treatment to deny the effects of chronic Lyme disease. Biofilms (imagine a safe, gated community made from mucus, where bacteria can conceal itself undetected by the body’s immune system) have been documented. The presence of biofilms, filmed with thousands of spirochetes, indicates an active infection.
Be aware of symptoms of Lyme. If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, it may become late-stage or chronic. This may also occur when early treatment is inadequate. While some symptoms of chronic or late stage Lyme disease are similar to those of early Lyme, Lyme disease may spread to any part of the body and affect any body system. Typically, it affects more than one body system.
Learn to protect yourself against tick bites, tucking pants into socks, putting clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes after a hike and, most importantly, check one another for ticks after outdoor activity. A tick tool can be purchased to hang on your key chain, or just use tweezers to gently remove them. Never listen to the fads about using Vaseline, alcohol, or anything else.
With case numbers on the rise in Texas, the question “What would you do” could become all too real. If you have been diagnosed and currently suffering from Lyme’s disease or feel that you or a loved one has contacted this disease call one of our many Internal Medicine, Neurologists or Allergists do discuss your options.