Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lyme's 101 ~

Here's a little information on Lyme's for those of you that are unfamiliar. As the days pass by I'm getting more and more familiar with it.

1. Is Lyme disease caused by a virus, bacteria, or a parasite?

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochetal bacteria.

2. Who is the doctor that identified the spirochete that causes Lyme disease?

Dr. Willie Burgdorfer identified the spirochete responsible for Lyme disease
(Borrelia burgdorferi) in the early 1980's.

3. How long after a person is in contact with an infected source will Lyme disease symptoms appear?

Lyme disease symptoms may appear days, weeks, months or years after the initial infection.

4. How many species of ticks carry the Lyme disease spirochetes?

At least nine species of ticks, six species of mosquitoes, 13 species of mites, 15 species
of flies, two species of fleas, and numerous wild and domestic animals (including
rabbits, rodents, and birds) have been found to carry the spirochete that causes Lyme

11. What are the most common diseases that are often mistaken for Lyme disease?

There are many different diseases or conditions that are found in patients with
Lyme disease.  All too often Borellia organisms are not considered as the
source for patients complaints and their symptoms.  For example, an
ophthalmologist may diagnose any of the following conditions: conjunctivitis, ocular
myalgias, keratitis, episcleritis, optic neuritis, pars planitis, uveitis, iritis, transient
or permanent blindness, iritis, photophobia, temporal arteritis, vitritis, Horner's
syndrome, ocular myasthenia gravis, or Argyll-Robertson pupil which may or may not be Lyme or tick borne disease related. All of the
conditions listed above have been documented in Lyme disease patients and many of these
diseases or conditions improve with proper antibiotic therapy.

Urologists, for
example, may not realize that recurring bladder infections or swollen testicles can be caused by spirochetal organisms.  Infectious Disease specialists often dismiss
patients concerned about Lyme disease because many are under the assumption that
Lyme disease is very 'rare' and/or they are not familiar with the various signs and
symptoms of the disease due to their limited definition of the disease.

Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed as:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease,
Lupus, Lou Gehrigs (ALS) disease, Guillian-Barre Syndrome, Polymyositis,
Hepatitis, cardiac disorders, fibromyalgia, TMJ, ringworm, Tullio phenomenon,
encephalitis, ADD, ADHD, meningitis, depression, panic disorders, Bell's palsy,
candidiasis, chronic mononucleosis, hypoglycemia, scleroderma, Epstein Barr
virus, autoimmune diseases, Bannwarth's syndrome, various cancers, 
kidney disease, Raynauds syndrome, stress-related illnesses, sleep disorders,
thyroid problems, vasculitis, anorexia, agoraphobia, cerebrovascular disorders,
arthritis, connective tissue diseases, hearing disorders, Crohn's disease, purpura,
pseudotumor, Sjogrens syndrome, stroke and respiratory insufficiency.

38. What are the signs or symptoms of Lyme disease?

Lyme is a multi-systemic disease that can cause multiple signs and symptoms.

Lyme disease can have a wide range of symptoms, which can go dormant (sometimes
for years), can migrate, return, disappear, or change day by day. Symptoms can be
aggravated by stress, medications, weather, and other outside influences. Symptoms
may tend to worsen on a four week peaking cycle. SOME of the symptoms that may
be found in those with Lyme disease include:

Flu-like symptoms, headaches (mild to severe), recurring low grade fevers or
fevers up to 104.5 degrees. Usually in the first few weeks of Lyme disease fevers
tend to be higher. (Patients with Lyme disease often tend to have a "normal
temperature" below 98.6 degrees, therefore, a slight rise in temperature may be all
that is noted.)

Often patients exhibit fatigue (mild to extreme), joint pain (with or
without swelling), muscle pain, connective tissue pain, recurring sore throat
(sometimes only on one side of the throat), swollen glands (come and go), varying
shades of red on ear lobes and pinna, malar rash, cold hands and feet in a warm
environment, weakness, lightheadedness, eczema and psoriasis, painful or itching
skin, flushing, night or day sweats, inordinate amounts of sweating, anhydrosis
(inability to sweat), or dermatitis (acrodermatitis chronica).

There may be a rash, but it isn't noticed or does not appear in all cases. The rash
may be basically circular with outward spreading, however, other varieties are seen. 
The rash may be singular or multiple, at the site of a bug bite, or in another location,
warm to touch, or slightly raised with distinct borders.

In dark skinned individuals
the rash may appear to be a bruise.

Numbness, sleep disturbances, vertigo, hearing loss, feelings of being off-balance,
unexplained weight gain or loss, and feeling "infected" are also problems associated
with Lyme disease.

Symptoms may develop that include: panic attacks, anxiety,
depression, mild to severe cognitive difficulties, mood swings, coma, seizures,
dementia, mania, biploar disorders, vivid nightmares, stammering speech, confusion,
memory loss (short or long term), "brain fog", vibrating feeling in head,
topographical disorientation, and environmental agnosia.

Some patients have problems with numbers and sequencing, disorganization of
thoughts, rambling on in great detail while talking, frequent errors in word selection
or pronunciation, changes in personality, short attention span, Tourette
manifestations, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), raging emotions, and cranial
nerve palsies.

Patients have reported bladder disfunction (neurogenic bladder with either
hesitancy, frequency, loss of bladder awareness, urinary retention, incontinence or
symptoms of UTI, and chronic pyelonephritis). Intersitial cystitis, irregular or
severe menstrual cycles with decreased or increased bleeding, early menopause, a
new onset of P.M.S. symptoms, or disturbed estrogen and progesterone levels are
documented in many cases.

Other problems include altered pregnancy outcomes,
severe symptoms during pregnancy, abdominal bloating, irritable bowel syndrome,
abdominal pain and cramping (may appear to be ulcers), loss of sex drive, testicular
or pelvic pain, breast pain, and fibrocystic breast disease.

Diarrhea (which can come and go or last for months with no explanation),
constipation (which can be severe enough to cause blockage), irritable bowel
syndrome, spastic colon, nausea, stomach acid reflux, gastritis, abdominal myositis,
and indigestion are some of the gasto-intestinal disorders reported.

In addition, patients demonstrate a higher occurrence of various types of cysts (liver, breast, bone, ovary, skin, pineal gland and kidney).

Some Lyme patients are diagnosed by
their eye care professionals and have been documented as suffering from one or
more of the following disorders: conjunctivitis, ocular myalgias, keratitis,
episcleritis, optic neuritis, pars planitis, uveitis, iritis, transient or permanent
blindness, iritis, photophobia, temporal arteritis, vitritis, Horner's syndrome, ocular
myasthenia gravis, and Argyll-Robertson pupil.

Often eye problems require a
changing of prescription glasses more often than normal. 

Heart-related problems are associated with Lyme disease and can include: mitral
valve prolapse, irregular heart beat, myocarditis, pericarditis, enlarged heart,
inflammation of muscle or membrane, shortness of breath, strokes, and chest pain. 
Twitching of facial muscles, Bell's palsy, tingling of the nose, cheek or face are

In addition, there may be chest pain or soreness, enlarged spleen, liver
function disorders, tremors, extreme sensitivity to being touched or bumped,
burning sensations, stiff neck, meningitis, and encephalitis. Patients may experience continual or recurring infections (sinus, kidney and urinary tract are most common).

Patients may suffer from a weakened immune system, the development of new
allergies, recurring upper respiratory tract infections (causing, or worsening of
pre-existing sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, otitis, mastoiditis), and allergic or chemical

Other noted problems include: T.M.J., difficulty swallowing or
chewing, tooth grinding, arthritis (in small joints of fingers and larger, weight
bearing joints), Osgood-Schlatter's Syndrome (water on the knee), bone pain,
gout-like pain in toe, muscle spasms to the point of dislocating joints and tearing
muscle tissue, leg and hip pain, "drawing up" of arms, "growing pains" in children,
tendonitis, heel pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and paravertebral lumbosacral
muscle strain/spasm.

Some patients tend to suffer from a monthly "flare-up" of symptoms as the
spirochetes reproduce and/or die off.

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