Our knowledge of Lyme disease surfaced in the early 1970s, when a mysterious group of rheumatoid arthritis cases occurred among children in Lyme, Connecticut, and two neighboring towns. Since then we have learned that Lyme disease has been around for thousands upon thousands of years. It is caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi.
Lyme can affect any organ of the body, including muscles and joints, the brain and nervous system, and the heart. Lyme is called “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms mimic many other diseases. Patients with Lyme disease are frequently misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and various psychiatric illnesses, such as depression. This has been proven true at The LaCava Center where many patients, who have been diagnosed with such illnesses, come to us only to find out that Lyme disease was the culprit all along.
The Causes of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is primarily caused by a tick bite. However, it is also believed by many that horse-flies, deer flies, and other insects, such as mosquitoes, are transmitters of the disease as well. Unfortunately, most people believe that if they are bitten by a tick, they only need to worry if a red bulls-eye shows up on their skin. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is estimated that only 16% of patients diagnosed with Lyme disease know of a tick bite, and only a third to a half of people have the bulls-eye rash. Furthermore, ticks are hosts to a number of other viruses and parasites, including Heartland Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Bartonella, and Anaplasmosis. Click here for more information.
The Shocking Statistics
Although the prevailing logic is that Lyme is an East Coast disease, it is found throughout the United States, as well as in more than sixty other countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year. About 1.5 times more than the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer, and six times more than the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year in the US. However, because of Lyme’s nature, it often goes undetected leading many experts to believe the true number of cases is much higher.