The CDC Reveals The Truth About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, also known as a deer tick. Lyme and its numerous co-infections can mimic or cause virtually any medical, neurological, or psychiatric condition. It is called the “great imitator” and has been vastly underdiagnosed in the U.S. due to inadequate testing methods and general lack of acknowledgment by the medical community. A nasty relative of the STD syphilis, Lyme causes a multitude of medical, neurological, and psychiatric impairment issues, yet is much harder to cure.
Common Neuropsychological Issues From Lyme Disease
- Impaired attention, focus, concentration, judgment and impulse control.
- Impaired memory and speech functions.
- Disorganization and getting lost.
- Poor problem-solving and decision-making abilities.
- Slower mental processing speed.
- Symptoms similar to dementia and Alzheimer’s.
70% of those afflicted with Lyme disease report changes in their thinking such as memory loss and reduced mental sharpness.
Lyme is often a serious, chronic illness that the medical community at large has misunderstood at best, and at worse unacknowledged. How can doctors treat an illness if they don’t believe it exists? They can’t, which is why far too many people have been suffering from Lyme brain for far too long.
Misdiagnosis and Delayed Treatment
The fortunate ones are able to catch Lyme within the first few weeks when the appropriate antibiotics have a much better chance of working. Unfortunately, Lyme disease is often missed and the infection is allowed to take hold, disrupting the immune system and causing a cascade of inflammatory responses.
Even when Lyme is suspected and a blood test is ordered, the common “Western Blot” test often results in false negatives – while Lyme’s co-infection antibodies are rarely even looked for, although they may even be more common than Lyme itself! It’s not uncommon for someone with Lyme to receive multiple negative test results before achieving a proper diagnosis. This leaves thousands of undiagnosed patients sick and confused, spending months, years, or even decades wandering around from doctor to doctor, trying to find out what is wrong with them. Ineffective testing methods combined with inadequate insurance coverage mean that people with Lyme often encounter financial ruin before a cure.
After 3-6 months in the body, Lyme has taken hold of the immune system and becomes difficult to eradicate with antibiotics alone. A study published in 2012 showed that Lyme disease has tenacious survival skills. Inside the body, the Borrelia organism (Lyme) forms a biofilm, which allows it to constantly rearrange its structure, hide, and resist environmental conditions such as antibiotics.
Prevention and Early Detection
A tick bite is the best way to know whether you are at risk – however, one study showed that only 17% of those surveyed even recalled being bitten! Be sure to focus on prevention and know the signs and symptoms of early Lyme infection.
Know Their Habitat
Blacklegged ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. You can even encounter ticks in your own backyard! Avoid them by avoiding tall vegetation and walking in the center of trails.
Perform Daily Tick Checks
Be sure to check yourself, your children, and your pets after being outdoors. Create a top-down checklist, searching the following areas:
- In and around all head (and body) hair
- In and around the ears
- Under the arms
- Around the waist
- Inside the belly button
- Between the legs
- Back of the knees
- Underneath socks
TIP: Placing clothing in a dryer on high heat will effectively kill ticks.
Know How to Remove a Tick
- If possible, use pointy tweezers
- Disinfect the tweezers with rubbing alcohol
- Grab the tick close to the skin and use a slow, steady motion to pull the tick out
- Disinfect the tweezers again
- Keep an eye on the bite area
Lyme Symptoms: Days 1-30
Treating an infection within the first 3 weeks is critical to reducing the risk of chronic Lyme disease, which can last for the rest of your life. If the following symptoms appear (especially during the warmer months when infection is likely), seek medical assistance right away.
Initial Early Symptoms
- Flu-like illness (unexplained fever, chills, or body aches)
- Extreme fatigue
- Mood swings
Someone who has contracted Lyme disease from a tick may or may not see a “bulls-eye” rash at the site of the bite(s). The CDC states that a rash occurs in approximately 70-80% of infected persons, yet the Amen Clinic doctors believe those numbers are as low as 20-40%. If a rash does appear, it is typically within 3-7 days.
- The rash gradually expands over a period of several days and can reach up to 12 inches across.
- Parts of the rash may clear as it enlarges, resulting in a “bulls-eye” appearance.
- The rash usually feels warm to the touch, yet is rarely itchy or painful.
- Note: Ticks spread at least 10 other co-infections that may cause rashes – if you believe you have been bitten, call your primary care provider immediately
Lyme Symptoms: Days 30 and Beyond
Weeks to months after the bite
- Joint inflammation and pain
- Bell’s palsy
- Impaired memory
- Brain fog and difficulty thinking
- Irritability and explosive rages
- Panic attacks
Late-Stage Persistent Lyme Symptoms
Months to years after the bite
- Progressive dementias
- Seizure disorders
- Heart problems
- A variety of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis-like syndromes
- Visual disturbances or loss of vision
Consider Lyme in Children
In addition to tick bite infection, Lyme can also be passed from mother to baby. The symptoms to look for in children include:
- Changes in behavior
- School and learning problems
- Gastrointestinal complaints
- Migrating pains
- Hypersensitivity to noise, light, odors, and touch
If you have any concerns about Lyme disease it is important to be evaluated right away, especially by a physician who is knowledgeable about this evasive but serious disease. Amen Clinics has several doctors with extensive experience diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, particularly the neuropsychological symptoms that Lyme disease can cause. Contact us at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit today.