What Is Lyme disease and why the controversy?

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Introduction

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Lyme disease is no longer an obscure malady that can only be caught in Connecticut. In 2013, the year with the latest available data, the CDC predicted an estimated 300,000 actual new cases, though only 30,000 per year were reported and confirmed. Cases have been diagnosed in all 50 states, but as of 2013, 95% of the confirmed cases came from the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Lyme disease is an infection from the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. It is not known to be a contagious disease spread from person to person. Its only known transmission is through the bite of an infected tick. (Though there is now argument that other insects, including mosquitoes and fleas, may also be carriers, and that it may be sexually transmitted). Although symptoms can and do vary, the majority of cases adhere to the following pattern:

Phase One – 3 to 30 Days - Also Called Early Localized Infection

  • 70-75% develop a rash. A characteristic bull's eye rash develops, starting at the site of the tick bite. It is not itchy or painful but may be warm to the touch.
  • Flu-like symptoms develop: fever, chills, swollen lymph glands, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain.

Phase Two – Days to Weeks After Bite - Also Called Early Disseminated Infection

  • Rash spreads
  • Large joints may become swollen and painful
  • Stiff neck in some cases
  • Meningitis may develop
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations

Phase Three – Later Months to Years - Also Called Late Disseminated Infection

Many infectious disease specialists believe that "chronic Lyme disease" does not exist and that Lyme disease from a tick bite can be cured with a short course of antibiotics. It is possible that those who have undergone antibiotic treatments are suffering from the side effects of antibiotics, but more and more experts are coming around to the idea that Lyme disease can survive and cause long-term autoimmune symptoms when antibiotics don't work. We all know (or at least, we all should know) that antibiotics do not always work and can cause more problems.
  • Arthritis symptoms – swollen, painful joints (fluid-filled joints)
  • Neurological symptoms - numbness, tingling, shooting pains
  • Cognitive symptoms – brain fog, short-term memory deficits, confusion
  • Mood disturbance – depression
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure
Facial paralysis may also occur in this stage or in stage two.

History of Lyme Disease

In the 1960s and 1970s, something was very wrong in Connecticut. In a population of 12,000 living in three contiguous towns: Old Lyme, Lyme, and East Haddam, 39 children were diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and 12 adults were diagnosed with arthritis of unknown cause.

In 1975, frustrated by the lack of answers from their medical community, two mothers became patient advocates, gathering information from residents that they passed on to the Connecticut State Department of Health and the Yale School of Medicine.

Researchers were able to identify the disease and recognize its symptoms, but it wasn't until the early 80s that the actual cause was discovered. Willy Burgdorfer, a scientist who was studying Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, discovered the tick connection along with the bacterium, a spirochete, that caused Lyme. The bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, was named after him.

The Lyme Controversy

A quick review of current articles about Lyme reveals a great deal of frustration on the part of both patients and doctors battling the disease. First of all, there are serious problems with diagnostics. Since 25-30% of patients who have been infected with Lyme do not exhibit a rash - the first and most specific symptom is missing. Of those who present with a rash, many do not exhibit the characteristic bull's eye rash. Blood tests to identify the bacteria produce both false negatives and false positives. Therefore, an initial, correct diagnosis may be hard to come by. Lyme disease also imitates other diseases and is therefore regularly misdiagnosed as MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, ALS, and other illnesses.

There are multiple tests for Lyme. The CDC recommends screening with the ELISA test and confirming with the Western blot test, but during the first 4-6 weeks of infection these tests are unreliable because they measure the patient's antibody response to the infection, not the bacteria itself.

To learn about why antibiotics do not always cure Lyme disease and how to treat it naturally, read the full article, How To Cure Lyme Disease, And Virtually Any Other Bacterial Infection, Naturally . If you've been through a round of antibiotics, check out How to Detox from Antibiotics .


References

Originally posted at:

http://www.naturalnews.com/051107_Lyme_disease_diagnosis_controversy_disseminated_infection.html
photo Arthritis

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