Are you feeling fatigued?
Experiencing flu-like symptoms or joint pain?
These are some of the very common symptoms of Lyme disease. If one finds that they are experiencing all three of them, it’s a huge reason to draw the conclusion that they might have it. However, the symptoms can also be the result of other conditions such as autoimmune disease, joint conditions, or influenza. Because Lyme mirrors other common illnesses, it’s very difficult for most patients to know whether or not they actually have the disease. Lyme is an infectious disease caused by a certain bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease can affect patients differently, and because of this, it is one of the most frustrating and confusing illnesses to accurately diagnose in the medical industry. For example, many who have tested negative for it have eventually discovered that they actually did have it and vice versa. This leaves many people wondering exactly how to really know whether or not someone has Lyme disease? What are the small indicators to look for and what are the right steps to take to seek an accurate diagnosis?
Are You (Or Were You) Exposed to a Tick Environment?
Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted through the bite of a female deer tick, or Ixodes scapularis. Contrary to what many believe, only about 50% of deer ticks actually carry Lyme disease. Female ticks are more likely to become infectious because they actively feed on various animals that carry diseases such as mice, bats, rabbits, deer, etc. which, with all different bacteria combined, will eventually formulate the Lyme bacteria. So, when she attaches herself to a human host, that human will then be infected. Male ticks on the other hand only attach, but don’t feed on their hosts, therefore it’s important that if one finds a tick on themselves to truly know the difference between the two. To tell the difference, females are larger and brown in color whereas males are smaller and black in color¹.
All ticks usually lounge in or near large grassy or woodsy areas. Sadly, deer ticks are about the size of a sesame seed, so sometimes it can be difficult to know when one has been bitten and infected. Regardless, it is advised that people should be very careful walking around woodlands or large fields. For those who enjoy hiking or live near a woodsy environment, and suddenly feel the onslaught of feverish symptoms, body aches and rashes, try to recall if you have spent a lot of time outside and whether or not it may have been a tick habitat. Knowing this will play a huge role in deciphering whether or not one has the possibility of developing Lyme.
Check for the Early Symptoms
Normally, the very first indication of Lyme disease is that of a bulls-eye rash where the deer tick has infected its host. However, only about 20-30% of Lyme patients may be lucky to have this obvious symptom. For those who have the rash, the disease is a lot easier to attack with antibiotics in its early stages. For those who don’t receive the rash, detecting Lyme automatically becomes much more difficult because people will continue with the condition untreated. If one has experienced any early symptoms and could recall being outdoors for a long period of time, these are two major factors that make a difference between isolated illness symptoms and Lyme Disease. Although, both of these combined are still not definitive enough to accurately detect the condition.
Have You Been Properly Tested?
If one recalls being outdoors and begins experiencing strange symptoms such as the bulls-eye rash, then these are two signs that it’s time to receive a Lyme test. Unfortunately in conventional medicine, the two-tiered testing method (the ELISA and Western Blot) for this disease is incredibly frustrating for many patients because of its inconsistency; causing a misdiagnosis in multiple people. According to lymedisease.org, the standard CDC Lyme Test was inaccurate in more than 70% of its cases². Patients who tested positive for Lyme eventually discovered that their symptoms were coming from other underlying factors and those who received negative results eventually discovered that they had Lyme years later. This happens because these tests are designed to detect very specific antibodies, and if there aren’t enough of them discovered, the test results may have a false reading.
At LifeWorks Wellness Center however, the approach for Lyme testing has been more accurate when diagnosing patients. All patients of LifeWorks who are suspected to have the disease are requested to have a CD57 blood test and are ordered a Lyme test. The CD57 is used to help diagnose and monitor the treatment for patients. This test will reveal the count for Lymphocyte (in which any number below 60 is a Lyme indicator). The lab we use to test for Lyme disease is in Arizona and is the only lab in the United States to detect biofilms in organisms and tests for IgM and IgG bands, proteins and antibodies.
In The End…
There is a special process involved when diagnosing Lyme disease, and unfortunately the disease can be very unpredictable in different patients. For some, symptoms of the disease may not appear until months or years after being infected. Others with untreated Lyme may not know that they have it until they receive positive test results. And while many people question the accuracy of the conventional testing process, LifeWorks Wellness Center has a 90% success rate in detecting Lyme and treating it in many of its patients.
If you have been outside for a long period of time and have experienced some typical Lyme symptoms, LifeWorks welcomes all new patients to come in for a more accurate testing process. To schedule an appointment, please call 727-466-6789.