Record breaking heat in the summer, and much warmer winters, have contributed to a spike in the general population of ticks. These ticks carry Lyme disease, a neurodegenerative bacterial infection with symptoms ranging from arthritis to depression to severe brain fog.
The bacteria, scientifically known as Borrellia burgdorferi or other species, is a master shape-shifter and mimics many other illnesses. We also know that Borrellia has a knack for being able to hide from the immune system. In fact, it hides much better than many other common bacterial infections. This means that it is harder for the immune system to attack and destroy the organism that causes Lyme. For that reason, doctors usually prescribe an intense and prolonged regimen of antibiotics to try and destroy the Lyme-causing bug.
Antibiotics can sometimes be effective, especially in the very early stages of Lyme disease, but these antibiotics become less effective as Lyme disease become more persistent. Recovery from Lyme disease is different for every individual. While some Lyme patients recover quickly, more often than not, people infected with Lyme are either misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed and never receive proper treatment and end up with post-Lyme syndrome or more commonly known as chronic Lyme disease.
A tick bite can also transmit co-infections, such as Babesia, Bartonella, Anaplasma, Mycoplasma, Rickettsia, Powassan virus and many others. These additional infections can also create additional symptoms related to Lyme disease. This further complicates a diagnosis as other, unique symptoms can be connected to a co-infection.
All of these major details make it difficult to create a treatment protocol to combat Lyme. Conventional medicine believes that rigorous antibiotics courses are strong enough to get rid of Lyme and its coinfections for good. But for those who continue to suffer from Lyme after the antibiotics, the road to recovery can difficult and unknown.
The truth is, chronic lyme exists. This kind of infection is long term and takes a long term, tailored strategy of treatment. Most conventional medical doctors believe that Lyme disease can be cured with a 3-4 week course of antibiotics, but it’s much more complex than that. And this is where the controversy begins.
The CDC recognizes that post-Lyme syndrome exists, but offers no real treatment options and suggests it is a rare complication of Lyme disease. While we don’t know how many people suffer from post-Lyme syndrome, but it is likely in the millions worldwide. There are at least 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year alone and research suggests up to 50% of these people will develop persistent Lyme disease or post-Lyme syndrome. Many insurance companies fail to cover long-term treatment of Lyme disease and there is no consensus on which treatments are best for post-Lyme syndrome.
I know it exists because I am one of those people. After being infected in 2002, I went through my own battle to overcome Lyme disease, post-Lyme syndrome and multiple sclerosis. It has been through diet, herbs, immunotherapy, stress management, exercise and other natural therapies that have helped me get to where I am today. It is not easy or quick. But it is possible.
If you have been told that chronic Lyme disease doesn’t exist or it’s all in your head, time to find a practitioner that truly understands Lyme disease in all its many forms and get the help you need. But the silver lining here is that the dedicated group of practitioners who support the treatment of chronic Lyme, continues to research, gain knowledge, and fight for the Lyme community to help you too, overcome Lyme disease.