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HEALTH CONCERN? BioHealth Health Concerns

General Information about Lyme Disease

Contributing Author: McFadzean, Nicola N.D.

Nicola McFadzeanDr. Nicola McFadzean is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, trained in both the United States and her native country of Australia. She received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Nicola works with a wide variety of health conditions, ranging from cognitive issues to digestive problems to hormonal imbalance. She can access a full spectrum of laboratory testing to assess imbalances in the body, while having the freedom to prescribe natural remedies and prescription medications when necessary.

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The Borrelia burgdorferi is the spirochete bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Infected black-legged ticks transmit the disease to humans and other animals through bites. If diagnosed and treated early with antibiotics, Lyme disease is readily cured. Generally, Lyme disease may also be treated effectively in its later stages. Left untreated, the bacterium travels through the bloodstream, colonizes various body tissues, and causes a number of symptoms, some severe. Lyme disease manifests as a multisystem inflammatory disease that initially affects the skin and then spreads to the joints, nervous system and, to a lesser extent, other organ systems.

The first symptom of Lyme disease is usually an expanding rash (erythema migrans, or EM) that may resemble a bull's eye. This rash persists for three to five weeks after disease transmission and has a diameter range of 2–24 inches (average 5–6 inches). Around the time that the rash appears, other mild symptoms may be noticed: joint pains, chills, fever, and fatigue. As the spirochete continues to disseminate itself throughout the body, severe fatigue, a stiff, aching neck, tingling or numbness in the extremities, facial palsy, severe headaches, painful arthritis and joint swelling, cardiac abnormalities, and cognitive disorders may occur. Unfortunately, fewer than 50% of chronic Lyme patients report knowingly being bitten by a tick, and even fewer present with the classic EM rash. Therefore, these are not valid criteria for diagnosing Lyme disease.

Other tick-borne diseases, principally ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, may cause cross-reactivity with Borrelia burgdorferi peptides. Patients testing positive for Epstein–Barr virus, rheumatoid factor, or other spirochetal diseases may have antibodies that react with Borrelia burgdorferi peptides via molecular mimicry/cross-reactivity.

Two years ago, a Lyme disease expert, Dan Kinderleher, MD, stated on the Today Show that the then existing 1.8 million cases of Lyme disease cited by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) in Atlanta, Georgia, was underreported by at least ten times. In the United States, therefore, over 18 million Lyme disease patients now exist.

Lyme disease can produce severe symptoms that may resemble one or more of over 300 systemic degenerations or dysfunctions, including multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus erythematosis, Parkinsonism, rheumatoid arthritis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome, psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, Alzheimer's, and many more.

Testing for Lyme disease may be helpful but is not always reliable. Lyme disease is primarily a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms. Because the Borrelia spirochetes disable the immune system, it is important to treat the individual for three weeks with Samento or a similar integrative protocol, to support the immune system in mounting a sufficient response that would show up on a lab test.