Chronic Lyme Disease is a complicated illness that debilitates many people. It is frequently mistaken for other conditions. And doctors often don’t have the expertise to diagnose, let alone treat chronic, Lyme disease.
Here are the most important things you need to know about this condition and chronic Lyme disease treatment. Keep reading.
Chronic Lyme Disease
Many people could be living with chronic Lyme disease. A lot of these people also go undiagnosed for years and years. So, what is chronic Lyme disease, what are the symptoms, and how is it treated?
What is Lyme Disease?
Chronic Lyme disease is seen as a somewhat controversial diagnosis in the medical world today. Lyme disease is an infection contracted by ticks carrying a specific type of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. People can become sick if with Lyme disease if they are bitten by these ticks and exposed to this specific bacterium.
An ordinary case of Lyme disease is typically able to be diagnosed within a couple of days, or a few weeks, after the bite. Testing for the condition often takes place in two steps, as it is not uncommon for tests to come back with false negatives shortly after the tick bites. Testing is more reliable than most people think, though it is still difficult to get a diagnosis relying on labwork alone.
The most obvious sign is the well-known bulls-eye rash, as well as chills, fevers, pain, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. The infection can then be treated with a 2 to 4-week course of antibiotics.
Post-Treatment Lyme Disease
A rare side effect that may follow after treatment is known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). People with PTLDS may experience headaches, difficulty thinking, joint pain, and excessive sleepiness for six or more months after treatment.
Currently, there is no standard treatment for PTLDS, although affected patients do tend to feel better after many months.
PTLDS is different from chronic Lyme disease. People and certain organizations may use the terms PTLDS and chronic Lyme disease interchangeably. However, they are technically two separate conditions and should be treated as such.
What is Chronic Lyme Disease?
At this time, chronic Lyme disease is not a supported diagnosis. However, symptoms may not go away following treatment. Additionally, Lyme disease could even be misdiagnosed as other conditions.
What are the Symptoms?
There are many symptoms of chronic Lyme disease. In fact, the infection can produce over 100 different symptoms. This makes it difficult to diagnose and tell it apart from other conditions.
No two cases of chronic Lyme look the same. Some of the symptoms of this illness include, but are not limited to:
Memory problems and difficulty concentrating
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Joint pain, swelling, and/or stiffness
Anxiety and panic attacks
Mood swings or irritability
Due to its wide variety of symptoms, it is difficult to diagnose. These symptoms also overlap many other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Morgellons disease, schizophrenia, chronic fatigue, and more. Chronic Lyme experts believe that the average doctor lacks the knowledge necessary to accurately diagnose the disease.
How is it Diagnosed?
When it comes to getting a diagnosis of Lyme disease, it can be very difficult. An acute Lyme infection is not always easy to diagnose because it takes weeks for the body to develop antibodies against Lyme disease.
This means it could take weeks after infection to get an accurate diagnosis. If treatment has already been started, antibiotics could suppress an immune response, meaning the test may not come back positive even if the patient has Lyme disease.
Testing for chronic Lyme disease is different. You can get a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease with laboratory testing. However, even if the test comes back negative, if you have enough symptoms, you can consider yourself positive for chronic Lyme disease.
When it comes to treating chronic Lyme disease, long-term antibiotic therapy is not recommended, so supportive therapies are largely recommended.
Alternative Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment
Chronic Lyme disease treatment is different for every patient. The disease itself is able to mimic other conditions is difficult to treat. If it is caught early enough, hopefully, a course of antibiotics for a few weeks is enough to eradicate the infection in your body.
However, this is not the case with all people who are bit by infected ticks. The effects of infection may last for years. And, since the symptoms range so much from patient to patient, it is important to see a provider who will customize your treatment plan for you.
A Lyme disease treatment center will often specialize in alternative treatments for chronic Lyme disease. These treatments may look like taking traditional medications and incorporating supportive holistic, natural therapies.
The goal of treating chronic Lyme disease is to bring you back to how you were before you started experiencing symptoms. This may include removing “toxins” from your body as well as treatment protocols based on natural and holistic healing practices.
Treating Chronic Lyme Disease
If you believe you have chronic Lyme disease, it is important to first seek out a medical professional who can accurately diagnose you. Chronic Lyme disease can mimic other conditions, from chronic pain syndrome to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to various autoimmune diseases. Do not keep going from doctor to doctor trying to find an answer; talk to a specialist for chronic Lyme disease treatment.
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