Public awareness of Lyme disease is largely overlooked by healthcare professionals and the public at large. As a general community, we know that Lyme disease is on the rise.

We also know that it is a very difficult disease to properly diagnose and treat. It is primarily transferred from tick bites, although new evidence suggests mosquitos and other insects may be carriers as well. It’s a disease that is often misunderstood. At one point, it was used as an excuse for the poor behavior of a contestant on a reality show.

There is a plethora of information on the complexities of Lyme disease. However, it can be extremely misleading and somewhat confusing for the average person to grasp. Understanding Lyme disease is very important because it can lead to a more informed and better treatment plan with your health care practitioner.

1.       Lyme Disease is known as a bacterial infection, which is different from illnesses caused by viruses. An example of a viral infection is the common cold or flu. A bacterial infection requires a different response from the human immune system and therefore may require powerful herbs and even specific antibiotics to treat. These antibiotics can be effective against Lyme disease, but sometimes the side effects from these can outweigh the benefits.

2.       Lyme Disease is not be caused by a single species of bacteria. Lyme Disease is generally thought of an infection from a single bacterial species, primarily Borrelia burgdorferi. Why this may be the causative agent in most cases of Lyme disease, there are actually many other species of bacteria that also contribute to Lyme disease symptoms. There are over 300 known species of Borrellia in the world, so it is unlikely than one is the sole cause of Lyme disease.

Additionally, tick bites can also transmit other bacteria, called coifections. Coinfections can be transmitted along with Borrelia burgdorferi and can cause additional symptoms associated with Lyme. Coinfections are also diverse in the ways that they hide in the body from the immune system, so getting a comprehensive test to evaluate for these coinfections is important. These tests allow us to have better insight as to which specific co infection an individual may have. This way, we can be more prepared at devising treatment protocols on a case-by-case basis.

3.       Ticks might not be the only carrier of Lyme disease. Ticks are referred to as “vectors” for Lyme disease. This means that the tick is a specific route, or pathway, for Lyme disease to reach the human body. Vectors, therefore, are delivery systems for viral or bacterial infections. Lyme can be transferred primarily through tick bites and secondarily through other insect bites. Though there is less research done on other insects, there are cases where patients have presented with Lyme disease symptoms after getting bitten by fleas and mosquitos. However, there still isn’t enough information at this time.

4.       One disease, many different symptoms. Lyme is multifaceted. There is no one set of symptoms that it follows, although brain fog, muscle soreness and joint stiffness, fatigue, anxiety, higher levels of stress, lack of sleep, headaches and even cardiac issues are just some of the more common ones I hear from patients. Symptoms tend to come on gradually and can build up over time. This makes it difficult to get a proper diagnosis early on.

Lyme Disease has an impact on the nervous system and endocrine system, which is why so many symptoms exist. Lyme and its coinfections look for weaknesses in the body and try to magnify the impacts of those weaknesses.

5.       Lyme Disease can be treated. There are ways to lessen the impact of Lyme disease and in some cases, get rid of the infection altogether. Nutrition, herbal therapies, low dose immunotherapy, homeopathy and pulsed electromagnetic frequency devices can help the body get over the hump of Lyme disease. An effective strategy can be developed to support the body & immune system in order to combat Lyme disease.

If you think you might have Lyme disease or you have been suffering from multiple unexplained symptoms for a long time, seek a Lyme-literate healthcare provider to get tested and proper treatment.