I am not an alarmist by nature, so most of my health information tends to focus on the postitive. However, when it comes to Lyme disease and what it can eventually do to your health, I believe everyone needs to be informed and take precautions. After my daughter was bitten, she had some unusual symptoms develop that we believe could be early stage lyme disease. We saw an engorged tick fall off of her head and soon after, she developed a swollen, tender area on her head, fatigue, and a vibrating sensation in her muscles. Medical testing can give false negatives, so we are treating her as if she has lyme and her symptoms have abated. But if lyme is not caught early enough, it can cause long term damage to the body, turning a healthy active person into one with debilitating arthritis, neurological problems, severe pain, etc...
Lyme disease is the most common, vector-borne infectious disease in America with more than 200,000 new cases developing every year. Lyme disease has been reported in all 50 states and 25% of those infected are children. The number of cases reported to the CDC is estimated to be under reported by as many as six to 12 times, illustrating the vast number of people affected by this debilitating disease. This rising epidemic is reported to be larger than AIDS, West Nile Virus and the Avian Flu combined!
Lyme disease may be one of the most challenging diseases of our time in that it is difficult to prevent, diagnose and treat. The tests most doctors rely on miss 44 of every 100 patients- not much better than a coin toss. The average patient sees 5 doctors over nearly 2 years before being diagnosed, and 40% end up with long-term health problems. Medical treatment is often delayed, many times resulting in chronic infection, which leads to the loss of livelihoods- friends, jobs and sometimes lives.
The 3 Stages of Lyme Disease:
- STAGE 1: EARLY LOCALIZED INFECTION.
Tiredness, chills, fever, headache, muscle and/or joint pains, "summer flu", 30-50% may have the EM/ Bullseye rash. Usually easily treatable with antibiotics at this point.
- STAGE 2: EARLY DISSEMINATED INFECTION.
- STAGE 3: LATE/CHRONIC PERSISTENT INFECTION.
- Most people do not realize they have been bitten
- Less than half develop the "Bullseye" rash
- Most doctors don't realize how endemic the disease actually is
- The symptoms of Lyme are similar to other diseases
- Doctors are not familiar with the many different symptoms Lyme can cause
- Many follow the CDC criteria, though it is not meant for diagnostic purposes.
- Symptoms can develop months/years later, seeming unrelated to the bite
- LYME IS MOST COMMONLY MISDIAGNOSED AS:
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For more information on Lyme Disease, see