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Top 5 Things You May Not Know About Lyme Disease

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1. Lyme disease and its very existence are extremely controversial. Most doctors agree that after a tick bite if someone gets a bulls eye rash and exhibits flu like symptoms then likely they have contracted Lyme BUT, chronic or late stage Lyme, which happens months or years after tick exposure, possibly without recall of a tick bite, is what many docs think isn’t real! Because the Lyme germ can wreak havoc on the immune system, many people go on to develop conditions later in life not realizing that a previous infection could be the cause. Many of the tests used are also flawed so it is missed in many cases.

2. Good old New Jersey is the center of the Lyme epidemic in the Northeast! In fact it is estimated that 95% of ticks in NJ carry the Lyme germ amongst other infectious agents. This makes sense from what I am seeing in my clinic too because I am finding most people have been exposed based on testing, however, it is important to know that not everyone who has been exposed will get sick from it. Our immune system is very capable of keeping it under control if we are healthy. Also, diagnosis is not just based on testing but on symptoms as well. I use a Lyme specific questionnaire to help me decide if it Lyme in addition to any tests.

3. Ticks are the most common carriers for borrelia (the scientific name for the Lyme bacteria), but other biting insects including mosquitos and fleas can also transmit borrelia. This may help explain why some cases of Lyme disease do not include history of tick bite. Another controversial way it may be passed on is through sexual contact. While there is no hard science yet to back it up, I have seen patients sick with Lyme that had no tick bite recollection but their partner was bit many times.

4. Borrelia, the Lyme germ, rarely travels alone. Ticks and other biting insects (mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, biting flies) carry a large variety of potentially disease-causing microbes. The addition of these co-infections complicates and compounds the issue of Lyme disease. There are a handful of potential co-infecting microbes, which are now well known, and new ones are being discovered every day. The list of the known microbes considered co-infections includes: bartonella, mycoplasma, babesia, ehrlichia and anaplasma.

5. Treatment for Lyme is also controversial. There is no gold standard for what works. Antibiotics are not always effective in treating Lyme. Doctors also do not agree on the length of time needed to keep patients on antibiotics. The reasons for this include antibiotic resistance, the fact that Lyme germs can burrow deeply into the body in places where the antibiotics cannot reach, and lastly, if antibiotics were the best remedy for Lyme, people would not still be looking for other solutions. Literally thousands of people search the Internet daily looking for alternatives to conventional antibiotic therapy. Here at our clinic we use a variety of methods to address it. Using functional medicine principles we look at all aspects of healing and do testing for infections as well as other functional markers to tell us the condition of the body so we can treat and support it efficiently.