Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC by state health departments. However, this number does not reflect every case of Lyme disease that is diagnosed in the United States every year.
Researchers estimate that 329,000 cases of Lyme disease occur annually in the United States. This is a complicated disease that is caused by bacteria transmitted from a tick or insect bite. The majority of cases of Lyme are due to a bite from a type of deer tick known as the black-legged tick, which can carry and pass on bacteria known as borrelia burgdorferi. It was first thought that only this deer tick can be the carrier, however, according to the Michigan Lyme Disease Association, more recently it has also been found that other insects can also spread Lyme disease or cause similar infections - including other types of ticks, mosquitoes, and possibly spiders or fleas. Most cases are concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 14 states accounting for over 96 percent of cases reported.
The symptoms can start with flu-like headaches, muscle and joint aches and pains, which over time, worsen and turn into a long-lived inflammatory response that is similar to an autoimmune illness. It must be understood that although Lyme disease originates from an insect bite, symptoms are caused by an inflammatory infection that has a lot to with the strength of someone’s immune system. No two people react the same way, even when bitten by the same insect, which makes treating Lyme disease so difficult. That is whyprevention and boosting the immune system is so important.
The bacteria that causes lyme disease, is also the same type of bacteria that causes syphilis. called spirochete, and are shaped like tiny cork screws, making them highly effective at burrowing into organs, bone or any other barrier that many other bacteria find impenetrable. In humans, syphilis and Lyme Disease bacteria easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier to infect the central nervous system. Lyme disease is called "the great imitator," mimicking other disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome,fibromyalgia, ALS, ADHD and Alzheimer's disease.The only distinctive hallmark unique to Lyme disease is the "bull’s eye" rash, but this is absent in nearly half of those infected. Laboratory tests are notoriously unreliable, and a factor to be wary of is that few people who are suffering from Lyme actually remember being bitten by a tick or insect.
Are you at risk? Early June to August is peak season for ticks in the nymph (juvenile) stage when they are very hard to see. The adult tick season peaks at the end of October, when the risk of Lyme disease rises again. To reduce the risk of infection, the tick must be removed within 36 hours to stop it from transmitting the Lyme disease.
In the majority of cases, it can be successfully treated with oral antibiotics, if identified and treatment is started quickly after the initial infection. Chronic Lyme disease is where, despite antibiotic treatment or due to mis- or undiagnosed disease and therefore non-treatment; the Lyme disease continues to get worse or becomes evident months or years after infection. This is may be due to a weakened immune system due to illness or stress, inhibited cellular function and protection, systemic bacterial infection, or environmental factors which produce a more potent infection, such as exposure to mold or parasites.
Dr Sally Warren, ND PhD
Metro Integrative Pharmacy
Ref: Scientific America, CDC, Tick Borne Disease Alliance
Advice from the Naturopath:
Lyme Disease is a difficult disease to diagnose and even once diagnosed, may show false positives and false negatives. The symptoms can come and go and gain in intensity through treatments. There are some successful non-pharmaceutical treatment protocols, which must be followed with the assistance of a “Lyme Literate Doctor” and this is important since, despite the growing numbers of infected cases, some MDs have not recognized this as a very real disease, and continue to treat infected individuals with strong pain medication, which can lead to continued infection.
Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacteria of the Lyme Disease. Lyme, however, can carry co-infections as well and it is important to be tested for all of these. Mycoplasma and Bartonella are the most common and have their own list of symptoms and pain-causing issues. Some people do not respond to antibiotics, and chronic use of antibiotics can disrupt the immune system, especially when treating chronic or late stage Lyme. The herbs Cat’s Claw, Oregano and Japanese knotweed, or trans-resveratrol, and stabilized allicin from garlic can help as antibacterial/antimicrobial support. Reishi mushrooms and cordyceps offer support for the immune system and Chinese skullcap helps fight against viruses, it is important to include glutathione and NAC to detox tissues and use a good herbal cleanse for any heavy metals from the tissues. Natural pain relief is important to help manage the arthritic-like pain, and essential oils can give relief, as well as castor oil packs with heat pads. Be prepared for sleep disruptions. We suggest you find a good natural sleep aid like Tranquil Sleep. This is a complex disease and each individual has a different journey, please come it to talk to a practitioner at Metro Integrative or find a Lyme Literate Doctor.
Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor
Advice from the Nutritionist:
If bit by a tick it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor. Not all Lyme tests are accurate. The iSpot Lyme or Elispot test as more accurate than the ELISA or Western Blot. There is no single antibiotic that is effective; work with your doctor to get the best one for you. When taking an antibiotic it is beneficial to take a probiotic and prebiotic.
There is a lot of false information about Lyme cures on the web. It is important to check the source and where the research was done. In vivo studies do not necessarily translate to humans.
There are some supportive measures that a person can take while on the antibiotics.
● Eat lots of garlic
● Limit refined sugar
● Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables
● Eat a high fiber diet
● Eat good fats and protein
● Stay hydrated
● Saunas, alternating hot/cold showers, hot bath with epsom salt
Certified Nutrition Specialist, Metro Integrative Pharmacy
A note from the Pharmacist:
The strongest immune-boosting supplement that is safe to take even for autoimmune conditions is AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound). I recommend to use it for any condition when the immune system is compromised,including Lyme disease. It's also one of the most studied supplements backed by an impressive number of studies.The good news is it’s “on special”this month, so you can get this unique product for the best price. For the specific recommendations regarding the dose of AHCC and other supplements for Lyme disease, please talk to our practitioners.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. The information in this article is for educational purposes only.