Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lyme Disease: Your health can deteriorate with a tick bite

Once only found in Lyme, Connecticut, Lyme disease is now found in every state. It is transmitted by a very tiny tick, called a deer tick. Here on our property, we have only seen the larger ticks that typically are found on dogs. But not this year. For the first time, we have seen the tiny deer ticks, and our daughter has gotten bitten 8 times from playing in a wooded area right behind our house. Deer ticks are tiny and black, about the size of a sesame seed. They are so small, that when they get on your skin, they are about the size of a mole or freckle. But if you look very closely, you will see that what you thought was a mole actually has legs!

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.
Occurs days to weeks following infection. At this stage the spirochetes spread hematogenously to additional body tissues. The infection is more entrenched and harder to treat.
  • STAGE 3: LATE/CHRONIC PERSISTENT INFECTION.
If Lyme disease is not promptly or effectively treated, damage to the joints, nerves, and brain may develop months or years after you become infected. At this stage, the disease may require long-term, open-ended antibiotic therapy for months or years.


  • REASONS FOR MISDIAGNOSIS:
    • 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:

    Alzheimer’s Disease
    Arthritis
    Attention Deficit Disorder
    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    Fibromyalgia
    Systemic Lupus



    Guillain-Barre Syndrome
    Infectious Mononucleosis
    Lou Gherig’s Disease (ALS)
    Multiple Sclerosis
    Parkinson’s Disease

    More and more people affected by this disease are turning to alternative-oriented doctors, lyme literate M.D.'s, and naturopaths because it is so difficult to diagnose and treat effectively.

    For more information on Lyme Disease, see
    www.lymedisease.org
    www.underourskin.com


    3 comments:

    Kim said...

    Parkinson's disease is quite painful and the people who have suffered constantly, so we ask people to work with findrxonline to disseminate this and other diseases can be overcome if proper treatment is performed.

    Saponaria said...

    This was the first year we had deer ticks as well. Emmeline got bit by one and developed a fever that night. We went ahead and got abx the next day and I also gave her herbal remedies.

    I had thought the ticks might be because it was the first summer I insisted on not letting the chickens free range because they were destroying my gardens. I've gone back to letting the chickens roam and am going to have to try and figure out how to protect the gardens. Deer fencing was a bust. It tore very easily.

    Becky Mauldin, N.D. said...

    I'm not so sure that chickens can even spot a tiny deer tick. We have had chickens free ranging around our house for the past few years and still had major deer tick issues.

    I hope Emmeline is doing better.