My interest and fascination with chronic and stealth infections has grown ever since I became aware of their association to autoimmune diseases. Today I came across this article on CBS news which suggests that the diagnosis of Lyme Disease is actually 10x higher than previously thought. This means many people are walking around not knowing why they feel so sick, yet doctors tell them everything is normal and they are perfectly healthy.
Here’s an excerpt from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website explaining this illness:
“Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.”
(Note: From my research “occasionally” is a serious understatement, co-infections are super common and can make people really, really sick)
I will be attending the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Conference this October in San Diego. I’m hoping to get a deeper understanding of how clinicians are working with patients who have infections with B. burgdorferi and the many co-infections that hitch along for a ride. From what I have learned so far in my research, these chronic infections are increasingly prevalent and the health effects are often disastrous. Unfortunately, the level of care provided to these patients from conventional medical doctors is shockingly dismal so most are left to fend for themselves.
“CDC finds that there is 10x more Lyme disease than actually reported” (Click to Tweet)
Most of the conventional tests for Lyme are extremely inaccurate and can lead to false negative results. I remember sitting in on a Lyme patients consult with a naturopathic doctor I shadowed in Red Deer, Alberta. She said that even though she tested positive for Lyme on the first test, her doctor refused to treat her. How scary is that? It seems that this is such a complicated illness that many uneducated docs are unable to treat it appropriately, then tell their patients they think the test is wrong, and send them on their way. Here is the current conventional model used when testing for Lyme:
Luckily, there are great integrative doctors and new, innovative labs who approach this illness from a more holistic perspective to make sure patients are being properly treated. These are the doctors I will be learning from in a few weeks so stay tuned for an update!