Lyme Disease - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. All organs can be affected, but most commonly the skin, nervous system, joints, and heart.
This disease has been known since 1975, by various names, but is mainly associated with the name of the Lyme locality in the North American state of Connecticut, where the disease first appeared in epidemic proportions.
In Europe and the United States, the disease is caused by at least three species: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia garinii and Borrelia afzelii. The genotypic differences among these borrels are partly responsible for the different clinical manifestations in infected individuals. The disease is transmitted by various ticks from the Ixodes castor/persulcatus complex. In the US, the major vector is Ixodes scapularis, in Europe Ixodes castor, and in Asia Ixodes persulcatus.
Each year, more than 200,000 new cases of Lyme disease are reported in the United States, making it the fastest growing infectious disease in America. One new case is diagnosed every three hours. According to the CDC report, only 10-12% of Lyme disease is diagnosed! Often, this disease is misdiagnosed as a specific form of multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other neurological diseases.
Come visit our clinic as soon as you notice early symptoms of lyme disease to get tested for Lyme disease and to receive a proper Lyme disease treatment via boosting your immune system and balancing your hormones.
There are many unusual tips on how to remove ticks. A fast and professional medical intervention will reduce the chance of getting Lyme’s disease. If you notice a tick and try to remove it yourself, there is a great possibility that you will end up smashing its body, making it eject a large amount of bacteria through saliva.
If it is impossible for you to get medical help soon, then you can try removing the tick yourself. First, you need to wash your hands and take a tweezer with a blunt tip, pushing the tip of the tweezers closest to the skin and the head of the tick, and turning your hand counterclockwise. Only after you remove the tick, you should disinfect the area of the tick bite, otherwise, the disinfectants encourage the tick to vomit into the wound.
Make sure you see your doctor and report a tick bite even if you managed to remove the tick yourself. The doctor will monitor the condition of the site and if symptoms appear on the skin within a month antibiotics are prescribed which should prevent the spread of the bacterium and the disease progression to its chronic form. If the disease is caught on time, 68% of people have no consequences. A second stage manifests itself in 20% of cases, while the third and the most severe form of the disease develops in only 5% of cases.
The diagnosis of the disease is based on the report that someone has been bitten by a tick, general clinical presentation and a change at the site of the tick bite. Only after a few weeks can serological analyses be performed. The observance of a general practitioner for at least three months is mandatory.
The Onset of Lyme Disease
After tick bites and B. Burgdorferi inoculation into the skin, they can spread locally in the skin or via blood and lymph throughout the body. In the small intestine, they express OspA and OspB protein, and after moving to the salivary glands of the ticks, they also express OspC and other proteins, which are important for the pathogenesis of the disease.
After an incubation of 3 to 32 days, the causative agents can spread locally and cause a characteristic cutaneous change, erythema migrans. Entering the blood leads to the dissemination, during which they can affect various organs, especially the central nervous system, joints, heart, and skin.
Dissemination is also significantly enhanced by their ability to bind to platelet integrins. In addition, the immune response to infection develops only after a few weeks, which also contributes to the dissemination of the causative agent of the disease. First, a strong cellular respond develops, followed by a slower humoral immune response. All the affected tissues show histological infiltration of lymphocytes and plasma cells, with accompanying vasculitis.
Its important to receive a proper treatment for Lyme disease at its early stage. It’s much harder to treat chronic Lyme disease.
Clinical Manifestations of Lyme Disease
The disease usually develops through three stages. The first two stages correspond to the early and the third stage to the late infection. The disease stages may overlap, most patients do not go through all stages, and seroconversion can occur in asymptomatic individuals.
Stage I - is characterized by localized erythema migrans
After the tick bite and inoculation of borrellium into the skin, it spreads locally and in 60 to 80% of patients erythema migrans occurs, which may be accompanied by fever and/or regional lymphadenitis.
The redness spreads centrifugally, may be homogeneous or annular with a central fade, reaching an average of 15 cm in diameter. Erythema migrans usually fades and disappears within 3 to 4 weeks, and in untreated Lyme disease patients can last up to 14 months. Antibiotic therapy usually shortens the duration of erythema and significantly prevents the late manifestations of the disease. Get the Lyme disease treatment as soon as possible. Visit our office to get tested for Lyme disease.
Stage II - is characterized by disseminated Infection
For several days or weeks after the tick bite, these microorganisms can spread throughout the body. Disseminated infection is often associated with characteristic symptoms of the skin, as well as, nervous and musculoskeletal symptoms. In about 20% of patients in the United States and in about 2-8% of patients in Europe, secondary skin lesions occur in the form of smaller erythema migrans, ie ring-shaped skin lesions.
The most common neurological manifestations are lymphocytic meningitis, meningo-radiculoneuritis, cranial neuritis, and much less frequently encephalitis, myelitis, and cerebral vasculitis.
In Europe, the most common neurological manifestation is Bannwarth’s syndrome, consisting of lymphocytic meningitis, Bell’s palsy, and radiculopathy with severe, occasionally irritating or migratory pain.
Cardiac manifestations occur in 48% of patients with Lyme disease. Different degrees of the atrioventricular block are most commonly encountered. In some patients, acute myopericarditis and pericarditis have been described.
In addition to the already mentioned skin manifestations, lymphocytoma can be seen at this stage. Patients also complain of occasional arthralgia, myalgia, neck pain, headache, and fatigue.
Stage III - is characterized by persistent infection
Chronic progressive arthritis can occur at this stage of the disease, defined as lasting longer than one year. One or more joints are affected, synovia shows villous hypertrophy, the presence of fibrin deposits, and infiltrates with mononuclear cells.
The best-defined late neurological manifestation of Lyme disease is progressive encephalitis. There are problems with memory, depression, headache, etc.
The skin manifestation characteristic of the third stage is Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans (ACA). It usually occurs in the elderly asymmetrically on the distal parts of the extremity. Initially, bluish-reddish changes occur and skin swelling, which can last for years, and later lead to atrophy of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. The clinical diagnosis is confirmed by a biopsy of the skin from which B. burgdorferi can be isolated, sometimes even after 10 years from the onset of the disease. Do not wait until your joints are affected with the Lyme disease. In our office in Brooklyn we offer an effective treatment for Lyme disease.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis is made on the basis of clinical manifestations, epidemiological data and serological analyzes.
A definitive diagnosis can only be made by the cultivation of B. burgdorferi, which most often succeeds in erythema migrans, while it can be less frequently cultivated from liquor and synovial fluid. Although serological analyzes have high specificity and sensitivity, false positives and false negative results are obtained, which can create major diagnostic problems.
Specific IgM antibodies occur between weeks 2 and 4 after primary infection, the maximum titer reaches between weeks 3 and 6, and then the titer decreases gradually.
Specific IgG antibodies can be detected 6 to 8 weeks after infection and can remain detectable for a long period of time, even for a lifetime.
It is important to note that the level of IgG and, to a lesser extent, the IgM antibodies may remain elevated for a long time, regardless of the antibiotic therapy applied. Of the serological tests, ELISA or IFA is most commonly used, while the Westernblot test is most commonly used as the confirmatory test.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated?
The most common question we get from the patients is “Can lyme disease be cured”?
Treatment of Lyme disease depends primarily on its stage. In the first stage, the Lyme disease is treated orally with antibiotics, while parenteral administration of antibiotics is recommended for rheumatic and neurological manifestations.
When Lyme diseases recognized and addressed very early with the use of antibiotics it is treated successfully. But if Lyme disease is not recognized and not treated on time it becomes chronic with very strong autoimmune component, which in fact affects many systems of the body with spells of severe joint pain and swelling. Nonetheless the chronic Lyme is not the same as an acute.
It is not just an infection that is able to cause all the other symptoms, and it is very rarely cured with antibiotics alone. In our Brooklyn office we offer a systematic approach to Lyme disease treatment.
To be able to treat chronic Lyme effectively a completely diverse method that implies addressing all the system of the body including but not limiting to:
- Immune system
- Hormonal balance
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency
- Deficit in amino acids
- Balancing of gut flora
- Rebuilding of gut lining.
In our Integrative Health Center in Brooklyn we offer Ozone therapy for chronic Lyme disease treatment, which serves as a back bone of immunotherapy in chronic Lyme’s.
Alternative Lyme Disease Treatment
Essential oils have been proven to be effective for the treatment of Lyme’s disease. These oils will not cure Lyme’s disease but they can help a lot in overcoming the daily symptoms. Recommended essential oils are:
- Wild oregano oil
- Cassia oil
- Clove oil
- Thyme oil
- Tea tree oil, etc.
After 5-8 days of using these essential oils, you will notice a worsening of your condition as a large amount of bacteria gets destroyed, and they leak their endotoxins into the blood. When the liver gets rid of all these toxins, you will notice great improvement and elimination of subjective symptoms like malaise, pain, neurological disorders, and arrhythmia. It is essential to let the body rest in this period.
How to use essential oils for Lyme’s disease treatment?
There are four ways how one can use the essential oils mentioned above for the treatment of Lyme’s disease.
- They can be applied topically, but make sure not to use these essential oils directly on the skin without diluting them first with a carrier oil such as olive oil.
- You can diffuse the essential oils, which when inhaled will reach the bloodstream only in very low concentrations.
- You can use essential oils in nasal spray twice a day.
- You can also use essential oils under the tongue. For this purpose, you can emulsify a few drops of essential oil in a small amount of water. You need to hold this liquid for a few minutes under the tongue.
In conclusion, even though essential oils can not treat Lyme’s disease they can help manage its symptoms. It is worth giving a try, isn’t it, but regardless if you decide to use essential oils for the treatment of Lyme’s disease or not, don’t hesitate to seek professional medical care and get the Lyme disease treatment you need on time in order to prevent the disease from further progression and becoming a chronic problem.
And if you notice any of the symptoms of Lyme disease at a later stage, come see Dr. M. Yuabova, DNP, FNP for the chronic lyme disease treatment that we provide in our office in Brooklyn.
Prognosis and Prevention of Lyme Disease
The therapeutic response is best when the treatment is started early. In the later stages of Lyme disease, treatment is also effective, but the patient’s recovery is much longer. Most patients eventually recover with or without minimal residual deficits.
Today, there is a vaccine to prevent Lyme disease in the United States. It is given in three doses of 0, 1 and 12 months, with the third dose being given in April so that the vaccinated person reaches the maximum antibody titer during the summer season.
Do you have any questions about the Lyme disease treatment we offer in Downtown Brooklyn? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the Lyme disease specialist Dr. M. Yuabova, DNP, FNP? Please contact our office for consultation or if you have questions on how to treat lyme disease.