A diagnosis of Lyme Disease does not have to be life destroying – and a diagnosis is certainly not a death sentence. We understand that Lyme is smart and debilitating, often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as it deceivingly mimics a wide variety of diseases. However, Lyme Disease treatment options are available near you, and recovery is possible. In the content below, we will discuss this unique disease, available treatment options, and the help you can receive in St. Charles.
What Does Lyme Disease Look Like?
Initiated by the bite of a tick, Lyme Disease is silent and painless at first. Most people with the disease have no memory of the bite. Once the infected tick has been present on the individual for at least 36 hours, the infection has been transmitted.
First recognized in 1975, Lyme is the most common tick-borne illness in the U.S. and Europe. According to WebMD: “A recent CDC study found that cases of Lyme increased more than 80% between 2004 and 2016 – from 19,804 to 36,429. Those are the reported cases. The CDC estimates there are more than 300,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year – or 10 times as many as what is reported.”
Individuals surrounded by wooded areas are more likely to get the illness. Patients bringing pets into the woods are at an even higher risk. However, even if someone is not a nature enthusiast or lives far from wooded areas, anyone can be at risk.
Lyme Disease patients react differently to the illness – one component of its complexity. Symptoms of Lyme often resemble a variety of diseases throughout each of the three stages of infection: early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated.
Most common symptoms include:
- A circular, red rash that may resemble an oval
- Fatigue or extreme exhaustion
- Joint swelling and pain
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Difficult sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
For children, the commonly experienced symptoms are:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Flu-like symptoms
As mentioned, every patient with Lyme will not experience each and every one of these symptoms. For example, the circular rash that often characterizes Lyme is more inconsistent than many imagine. Because of this inconsistency, it is always worthwhile to contact a trusted healthcare provider if experiencing any number of these symptoms.
How Is Lyme Diagnosed?
Diagnosing Lyme begins with understanding the root of the disease, including reviewing health history is crucial. To begin, your healthcare specialist will perform a physical exam to search for the bulls-eye rash – though not apparent on every individual, it is a clear, defining mark of the disease.
Blood tests may be implemented a few weeks after infection. Antibodies must be present for accurate diagnosis. The following tests may be implemented at this time:
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)
ELISA is initially utilized to detect antibodies fighting B. burgdorferi.
The Western Blot confirms ELISA. If a positive ELISA is returned, the Western Blot is performed, checking for B. burgdorferi-fighting antibodies.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
PCR is utilized for individuals with persistent nervous system symptoms.
What Lyme Disease Treatment Options Are Available?
Antibiotics are primarily used to treat Lyme disease. The good news is this: people treated appropriately with antibiotics, especially during early stages, typically recover rapidly. Recovery will be smoother and quicker the sooner treatment begins.
Oral antibiotics are often recommended for early-stage Lyme Disease. Adults, and children over 8, usually take doxycycline. Some adults, young children, and pregnant women receive amoxicillin or cefuroxime.
If caught in early stages, antibiotics are usually prescribed in 10-to-21-day courses. However, we believe the second option of antibiotic treatment is preferable.
At LaCava, we recommend intravenous antibiotics. Intravenous antibiotics involve directly introducing the antibiotic into the patient’s bloodstream for immediate action and full absorption. In these cases, ceftriaxone or penicillin are often utilized. At the LaCava center, we use a specific mechanism that allow us to give lower doses of ceftriaxone of doxycycline targeted at the infection. If you are in discomfort during therapy, your doctor will be able to ease some symptoms. Intravenous antibiotics are especially crucial if the disease involves the central nervous system. Taking an antibiotic for two to three weeks is often effective in eliminating infection.
People with diagnosed Lyme, or Lyme-like symptoms, may turn to alternative treatments for relief. At the LaCava Center we strive to provide an integrative approach using alternative and medical intervention for treatment of Lyme Disease.
How Can I Prepare for An Appointment?
Before your first appointment, there are a number of steps you can take receive the most helpful information. Bringing a family member or friend with you may be helpful to aid in preserving knowledge.
First, make a list.
- Record your symptoms.
- Record when you first experienced symptoms and the frequency with which they occur.
- Record the severity of your symptoms.
- Record all medications, vitamins, and supplements you consume.
- Record any initial questions.
Second, jot down a few basic questions.
- What might be causing my symptoms?
- What tests should I take?
- What is the best next step for my situation?
- What is your primary approach? Are there alternative?
- How can I manage this with existing health conditions?
- Are there restrictions I should adhere to, dietary or otherwise?
- What websites or resources should I explore to learn more?
What Help Can I Receive in St. Charles?
At The LaCava Center for Integrative Medicine, we want to help you. We are unique, unlike any other integrative medial practice – providing vanguard treatments that target the root causes of disease and sickness. This is how we approach Lyme Disease. We know that Lyme can be challenging to navigate. We have seen false negatives in lab testing and even ineffective treatment. These cases have prompted us to search for the very best diagnostic testing and treatment options. After trial and error, we found a lab with the expertise to accurately test for Lyme’s existence.
Located in St. Charles, we happily treat patients from all over the United States! We provide answers to questions, excellent resources, and intravenous therapy.
Get in touch today at (847) 695-6262 or via our online contact form to learn more about how we can help you!