At the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1990’s the annual cases contracted were 104,000. The CDC acknowledged in August 2013, that over 300,000 Lyme disease cases are contracted annually just in the USA (Australia, Norway, Germany, Canada are stricken perhaps even more densely). That is 3 times higher than the AIDS peak and climbing. Practitioners and researchers in the Lyme trenches estimate the reality is that over 1,000,000 Americans are infected annually with less than 5% being properly diagnosed and fully treated due to poor diagnostic tests and lack of physician education and public awareness. Everyone is at risk; children in tall grass, a hiker in a national park, gardening in your own yard or your pet carrying a tick indoors. Every USA state has Lyme disease and certain regions show over 50% of the ticks carry the dangerous bacteria and other pathogenic infections. Individuals must become proactive in their treatments.
Lyme disease can be a complicated and even deadly tick borne infectious illness. It affects every person in a unique way beyond the initial feverish, flu-like pains and malaise of the acute phase. Lyme morphs and lingers, disseminates and moves its way into the tissues, joints, organs and the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia, MS, Bells Palsy, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, bipolar, migraines are all too ugly misdiagnoses when Lyme is not ‘caught’ quickly enough. This illness can NO longer be brushed off as a mild short term infection that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Infectious Disease Society (IDSA) initially labelled it as back in the late 1970’s. What we are facing is an exploding public health care crisis akin to AIDS in the ‘80s and polio in the 50’s. Billions of dollars are needed to crack the code. Lyme receives a mere fraction of NIH funding or attention, however.
Prevention is essential, as well as more accurate earlier diagnostics, and Integrative Medicine treatments for chronic cases. Some excellent studies are being done to figure out the persistent nature of the illness in certain people, and the reasons why it triggers ‘auto-immune’ style states in so many. Dr. John Aucott of the Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center at John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center is pinpointing some of the genetic predisposing factors.
Also, private sector research is honing in on more rapid, accurate diagnostic tests being developed instead of the only 30% accurate, 40 year old outdated ELISA test or CDC standard surveillance Western Blot test that the average doctor and commercial lab use. Coming from Ceres Labs research is now a cutting edge antigen (not antibody) Nanotrap test. This could identify cases in days versus weeks, and help direct immediate effective early antibiotic usage. There is an indicative marker test to ‘follow’ a patient’s progress when under treatment by Neuroscience Labs, called the iSpot. IgeneX Labs in California is considered the premier Lyme diagnostic test, with their four-in-one ‘initial Lyme panel’. Insist your doctor order the testing with them. Many insurance companies do cover IgeneX.
Most all health care professionals agree that a new acute Lyme disease infection needs to be immediately treated with aggressive antibiotic and anti-malarial medications (tetracycline family), when the organism is still located in the bloodstream. But, borrelia burgdorferi bacteria are corkscrew shaped and whirl their way into tissues, joints, organs and glands, setting off painful inflammation, deep fatigue and eventual ‘autoimmune’ style triggers. The bacteria feed off the fatty layers of our organs, glands, brain, causing fibromyalgia, migraine, or RA or MS symptoms (as the muscle and nerve sheaths are eroded- seen on MRIs often) . The condition can be confusing for patient and physician alike without full training. See ILADS.com for physician training programs.
Clinical findings reveal that the best rates of recovery from chronic forms of Lyme disease are best achieved when Integrative Medicine protocols are woven together. Killing off the infection is one part of the equation, while addressing the major nutritional depletions, mitochondria disregulation, endocrine gland damage (adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, etc) and helping detoxify the body from the ammonia endotoxins the microbes release are all critical. Naturopathic doctors (ND), Clinical Nutritionists (CCN), Functional Medicine doctors, Homeopaths (CCH), Acupuncturists (LaAC) are trained in detox procedures and specialty lab testings to ascertain the rampant systemic depletions such a amino acids, essential fatty acids, neurotransmitters, cortizol malfunction, gut flora imbalances, mineral loss, or heavy metal toxins or mold damages many also suffer as ingredients related to chronic Lyme cases. Dietary and lifestyle changes come into play, too, as gluten from wheat and sugars accelerate the growth of the microbial infections.
Besides antibiotic use, antimicrobial herbals are considered to be quite helpful and even curative when the disease has progressed to systemic tissue status. Dr. Stephen Buhner’s “Healing Lyme Disease Naturally” or Dr. Richard Horowitz’s “Why Can’t I Get Better: Solving The Mystery Of Lyme and Chronic Disease” outline herbals and Integrative Medicine use. The suffering for so many with long term Lyme cases has been frowned upon as ‘imaginary’ or hypochondriacal, or shuffled off as stress problems or even learning disabilities in kids and teens. We have learned the hard way that the climate changes, high EMF overloads in our environment, antibiotic resistant borrelia strains and unusual over population of ticks has festered a public health care crisis. The epidemic’s swath is enormous with migrating birds dropping ticks off all over the world.
Please do not sit on the sidelines regarding Lyme disease. If you are suspicious of infection contact a local Lyme disease support group for practitioner recommendation. If you are a health care practitioner, start learning about Integrative Medicine. If you are curious, go to LymeGlobalAlliance.org, ILADS.org or LymeDisease.org. Seek out Lyme Literate practitioners using the newer testing labs. Global Lyme Diagnostics, out of research triangle park in NC, brings us the best sign of hope in 20 years of research; an annual screening test kit for all of us, to see if we have been exposed and can receive early antibiotics before the infections does damage. Practice prevention!