Lyme disease is a nasty infection that can progress to a chronic debilitating disease with life-threatening complications if left untreated.
Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of a four-legged tick, which is also known as the deer tick or the bear tick. The tick has to be in the nymphal stage of development to spread the disease. Outbreaks of the disease are more common during spring and summer seasons when the weather is warmer.
Lyme disease can be acute or chronic. An acute Lyme disease is very easy to treat and it is important to treat it as early as possible to prevent future complications.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
The incubation period of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease is 1 to 2 weeks. After this period, symptoms start to appear. Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease are:
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- A rash at the point of the bite, which is also known as erythema migrans
- Facial palsy
Aside from the rash, a typical “bull's-eye” appearance is seen on the site of the bite. Most of the other symptoms are common with other illnesses such as the flu and can often lead to a misdiagnosis.
When diagnosing Lyme disease, several factors such as the possibility of being bitten by a tick, the time of the year, and in some cases, even a blood test might be needed to confirm the disease. The blood tests, however, are unreliable and can often give a false negative reading.
The 3 Stages of Treatment for Lyme Disease
- Identifying the organism and treating it
Intravenous (IV) antibiotics alone are not sufficient in the treatment of Lyme disease as they do nothing for the weakened immune system. Therefore, relapses of the disease can occur as soon as the antibiotic treatment is discontinued. For this reason, antibiotics should be combined with immunotherapy and bio-detoxification to establish a complete cure.
1. Identifying the organism and treating it
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. It is a spirochete, which is a spiral-shaped organism. As with all bacteria, B. burgdorferi can also be treated with antibiotics. The commonly used antibiotic for Lyme disease treatment is oral doxycycline for 14 to 21 days. Cefuroxime and amoxicillin can be used for pregnant women and children with Lyme disease. When identified and treated in the early stages of the infection, antibiotics are highly effective. In some cases, the bacteria will release a toxic substance as they are being destroyed by the antibiotic. This mechanism causes the symptoms to get worse for a few days. However, the symptoms will clear up on their own, and the course of the antibiotic should be continued as prescribed by the doctor.
While oral antibiotics are sufficient to treat the disease during the early stages or in the case of a milder infection, more advanced stages and severe cases of the disease often require intravenous administration of antibiotics.
Unfortunately, some of these bacteria undergo mutations and become immune to these drugs, and continue to survive, causing symptoms. These bacteria are, therefore, resistant to a doxycycline treatment. Individuals who contract these resistant bacteria will develop chronic symptoms, which become progressively more incapacitating and life-threatening. As the disease progresses, and if not controlled, it can proceed to affect vital organs like the brain, spinal cord, and the heart.
A much later stage of the disease, which is also known as the "Late Stage Lyme Disease," leads to arthritis and neurological conditions. This stage can also be treated with antibiotics, and the doctor will decide whether medications are given orally or intravenously.
Intravenous (IV) antibiotics are given for chronic persisting Lyme disease for the same duration of time.
When the Lyme-causing bacteria enters your body, it begins to multiply and produce colonies. As they multiply, they release several bacterial lipoproteins, which are neurotoxins. These neurotoxins are responsible for some clinical symptoms such as memory problems, burning sensations, neurological pain, and numbness.
Therefore, it is important that we find a way to get rid of these neurotoxins from our body. Bio-detoxification is used to facilitate these toxins out of the body.
The Lyme-causing spirochetal bacteria attack the cells of the immune system, thus, impairing a person's the immunity. For this reason, immunotherapy is given. Immunotherapy will allow the body to produce more natural antibodies against these organisms and help fight the infection.
Despite the treatment, some people continue to have symptoms such as muscle aches, pain, and fatigability, which is known as the post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or chronic Lyme disease. The cause of this condition is not yet known. Further treatment with antibiotics is not helpful in these cases. Some researchers say that an autoimmune response is responsible for these symptoms. In these cases, however, further research is necessary. Most symptoms of the post-Lyme disease syndrome might last for up to several months but have been known to eventually clear up on their own.
If you have any early signs of Lyme disease, seek consultation from a doctor as soon as possible so that you can get yourself treated early. Early treatment can prevent life-threatening complications.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. People who live in areas with lots of greenery and those who spend lots of time outdoors are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
Diagnosis is tricky because of several symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, joint aches, and fatigue tend to overlap with other diseases like the flu. A skin rash called erythema migrans, which often has a "bull's-eye" shape is specific to Lyme disease and a clear indicator of the disease. The rash appears at the site of the tick bite anywhere from three days to a month after being bitten. Oral or intravenous administration of an antibiotic is the best way to treat Lyme disease. Other backup therapies such as immunotherapy and detoxification will also aid in the speedy recovery of the patient.