Lyme Disease

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.

Signs and Symptoms

Early Signs and Symptoms

  • Red bulls-eye rash
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Advanced Signs and Symptoms

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Nerve pain
  • Facial palsy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Arthritis with swelling and severe joint pain
  • Numbness, tingling, or shooting pains in the feet or hands
  • Problems with short-term memory

Less Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Heart problems, like an irregular heartbeat
  • Eye inflammation
  • Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
  • Severe fatigue

Chronic Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Pain
  • Short-term memory problems

How The LaCava Center can help you

At The LaCava Center, our doctors have noticed Lyme to be a smart and debilitating disease. We have seen many cases of false negatives in lab testing and even cases where previous treatment proved ineffective resulting in chronic Lyme. Such cases enabled us to search for a lab with the expertise to properly test for Lyme’s existence. After trial and error, we found such a lab and now partner with it for almost all of our Lyme testing.

If you have suffered from a debilitating disease and have not gotten better, we encourage you to give us a call today to discuss your case with our doctors. Our office is in St. Charles and we treat patients throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. Also, please feel free to check out some of the websites below for resources related to Lyme disease.

www.lymedisease.org

www.cdc.gov

www.ilads.org

www.webmd.com

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