What is Lyme Disease?
Approximately 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with lyme disease each year. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks and is most frequent in woodland areas, especially the northeastern coastal United States.
What Causes Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of black-legged ticks that carrying the bacterium. It is believed that ticks acquire the bacterium after biting an infected animal, such as mice or deer.
What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
The early symptoms of lyme disease are somewhat flu-like: fever, chills, headache, stiff neck, fatigue, joint pain, and muscle aches. In 70%-80% of cases lyme disease, a large, expanding rash (erythema migrans) may appear around the site of the tick bite. Arthritis is also common in those with lyme disease who are not immediately treated with antibiotics. In 10%-20% of these cases, lyme disease leads to lasting arthritis. Patients with lyme disease may experience neurological symptoms such as headaches, temporary paralysis in the muscles of the face, numbness or weakness in the limbs, and poor coordination. Irregular or slow hear beat, inflammation of the eye, or extreme fatigue are less common symptoms of lyme disease.
What is the Treatment for Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is unique in that two sets of guidelines exist to inform clinicians about how to proceed: the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS). At Cascade Integrative Medicine, we align more with ILADS guidelines acknowledging that chronic Lyme disease does exist and that patients need holistic treatment plans to treat the disease on multiple levels in order to restore vitality. We address total microbial load, hormone dysfunction, detoxification, nutrition, sleep, and other aspects of lyme disease to help our patients stimulate their own healing potential. Advanced laboratory testing is generally needed to diagnose and assess lyme disease, nutrient status, and environmental exposure.