Lyme Disease is a fairly common infection that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected black legged or deer tick. While some other ticks can carry the disease, these are the most common. However, new studies are showing that there may be more to Lyme Disease transmission that previously thought and new treatments and ways to manage symptoms are becoming available as well.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic rash called erythema migrans. Left untreated, Lyme disease can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system so early detection and treatment is imperative for patients suspecting they may have contracted the disease. The CDC estimates that nearly 30,000 new cases occur each year.
There are three stages of Lyme Disease.
- Stage one is when the infection occurs and people generally notice flu-like symptoms and the rash
- Stage two occurs when the bacteria have spread throughout the body and symptoms occur roughly 7-14 days after infection. Stage two symptoms may include stiff neck, facial paralysis, numbness in extremities and abnormal pulse. Nearly 50 percent of patients who do not treat Lyme disease in stage one will experience stage two symptoms.
- Stage three affects various organs and include debilitating conditions such as short-term memory loss, inflammation of the heart and tissue surrounding the brain and numbness in the hands, legs and feet. For some patients, these symptoms may last for months or even years.
While there is no vaccination against Lyme disease, there are steps that you can take to reduce the chance of contracting it.
- Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts
- Wear light colored clothing (so it is easier to see ticks)
- Spray clothing with the repellent permethrin, which can be found in lawn and garden stores (Never spray directly onto skin)
- Avoid sitting on the ground
- Avoid wooded areas and grasslands
- Keep your backyard clean and free from litter that may attract deer and rodents
Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to other conditions but it is important to know that left untreated, Lyme disease can cause neurological complications but with early treatment, the prognosis for full recovery is very good.
Once diagnosed, Lyme disease is typically treated with a course of antibiotics. However, the levels of antibiotics often take a toll on the body, killing good bacteria along with bad. Hence, the antibiotic can become a double-edged sword for treatment. Through the use of dietary and lifestyle changes, removal of the toxic source and rebuilding vitamin and mineral levels, patients have found great success for the treatment of Lyme disease through chiropractic care. Following a safe and natural approach to remove Lyme disease has been beneficial to many patients.
For a complete list of ways to reduce your chance of contracting Lyme disease, click here.