Going for a nature walk is a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty of our world; however, not everything about the natural world is beautiful. Specifically, tick-born illnesses like Lyme disease can cause a lot of harm.
May is Lyme disease awareness month, and at Peak Health Institute, we want to do all we can to educate and speak to individuals who may be suffering from Lyme disease. This article will share facts about Lyme disease that you may not know.
First, Lyme disease has become a significant public health concern because preventative measures are not always used, common clinical symptoms are mistaken for other illnesses, diagnostic tests may be lacking or inaccurate, and treatment protocols may not be administered or are ineffective.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the facts about Lyme disease.
How Do You Get Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the Borrelia bacteria, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. It is the fastest-growing infectious disease in the United States, with the CDC estimating 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease per year, and records show that it may be closer to 400,000. What’s more, a shocking 1.5 million people are estimated to have chronic Lyme disease.
Most Lyme disease infections occur in the following areas:
- Northeast and mid-Atlantic, from northeastern Virginia to Maine
- North central states, mostly in Wisconsin and Minnesota
- West Coast, particularly northern California
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Lyme disease is famous for its bull’s-eye rash, the tell-tale sign that a tick bite could have infected you with Lyme. However, not all cases of Lyme disease will present with a rash. You may have contracted Lyme without ever noticing any skin abnormalities. If you do notice a rash, it will have a red center and is surrounded by a clear ring with a red circle around it.
Other symptoms of Lyme disease include the following:
- Stiff neck
- Chronic fatigue
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Joint pain and degeneration
- Anxiety and depression
- Brain fog
- Nerve damage
To diagnose Lyme disease, healthcare practitioners look for specific symptoms, physical evidence (such as a rash), and possible exposure to infected ticks. Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods.
That said, testing lacks strong sensitivity and specificity and often results in false negatives. A variety of specialty tests exist that can help us narrow in on this diagnosis, but often, Lyme disease can be a clinical diagnosis. Your provider may diagnose the infection based on symptoms and presentation rather than a positive lab test.
How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease?
Preventative methods will help keep you from contracting Lyme disease. As the warmer months come and people decide to get out in nature more, it’s imperative that you are aware of the means of preventing a tick-born illness from affecting your family.
Here are several ways you can prevent Lyme disease:
- Wear an insect repellent whenever you spend time outdoors.
- Have your yard professionally treated for ticks.
- Wear light-weight, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toed shoes.
- As you travel to national and state parks, make sure to be on the lookout for ticks and check yourself as soon as you leave the park.
- Hike in the middle of trails so you are as far away from ticks as possible.
- Inspect yourself, your family, and any pets for ticks after you spend time outdoors.
- If you discover a tick, make sure to quickly and properly remove it from its host.
- Keep a tick kit in your car or luggage at all times so that you’re always prepared should a bite occur. Sharp tweezers, cleaning wipes, astragalus herb, and a small container to collect a tick for testing if needed.
What Can I Do If I Have Lyme Disease?
If you suspect you have Lyme disease, know you are not alone and not crazy.
One of the complicated things about Lyme disease is that you often don’t know you have it until it’s too late. It’s hard for even empathetic individuals to understand the complexities of having Lyme disease or one of its many co-infections unless they are experiencing it themselves.
In fact, Lyme disease has been titled ‘the great mimicker’ because it can mimic many different disease processes, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and psychiatric disease, among many others.
Many individuals with Lyme disease will see multiple doctors without a concrete answer for their mystery symptoms. They’ll run in circles trying to convince doctors to believe their presentation of symptoms and find someone who understands that this isn’t all in their head, isn’t attention seeking, and isn’t simply ‘anxiety.’
Luckily at Peak Health Institute, we have intimate knowledge of Lyme disease, its co-infections, and comprehensive treatment protocols. That’s why Lyme Disease Awareness Month is extremely important to us and bringing Lyme to the forefront of people’s minds as summer approaches.
From creating a personalized nutrition and supplement regimen to innovative and research-backed alternative treatments like ozone and infrared sauna therapies, we are here to help you fight back.
Work With Peak Health Institute
If you want to learn more about how Peak Health Institute and our providers can help you combat Lyme disease, contact us here.
Seeing a Lyme-literate provider makes all the difference. Unfortunately, even infectious disease specialists fall short with this particular infection. Once you receive a proper diagnosis from your Lyme literate provider, you can begin the journey towards regaining your health and repairing your immune system.
You don’t have to continue living with Lyme disease when you get the right healing. We achieved remission, and you can, too.