LYME DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH
May is Lyme Disease Awareness month, and for good reason. If you’ve ignored it in the past, you won’t want to in the future as the Center for Disease Control estimates 300,000 NEW people are infected in the U.S. alone each year.
GLOBAL LYME DISEASE
Contrary to popular belief, Lyme is not confined to Connecticut anymore. It has been found in each of the 50 states, and around the world. There are also many strains of Borrelia, the organism that has been linked to Lyme Disease symptoms, and more are being identified each year.
One of the reasons for the increase of people becoming infected is that Lyme is not only transmitted by ticks, it can be carried and transmitted by a whole host of insects including mosquitoes, according to this German study.
The main challenge with diagnosing Lyme Disease is that the tests currently used miss Lyme Disease 54% of the time. (Stricker Minerva 2010)
SPRING & FALL
So why do the Lyme Disease awareness campaigns begin in May? Because Spring and Fall are the highest incidences of tick bites as these are the times of the year that ticks feed. The challenge being a Nymph sized baby tick can be the size of a poppy seed, or smaller. See image above.
The insects that carry Lyme Disease also have the ability to carry many other organisms. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States include Lyme Disease, Babesiosis (Babesia), Anaplasmosis (Anaplasma), Ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia), Relapsing Fever, Tularemia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).
The challenge with being infected by multiple organisms is that each organism can infect a different tissue or part of the body, creating a multi systemic infection. This makes it hard for doctors to both diagnose and treat a patient as each organism can have one set of symptoms and then the organisms together can create a different set of symptoms as they weaken different resources within the body.
Lyme Disease itself can imitate any one of a number of current clinical diagnoses as there over 100 symptoms that it can produce. Here is a list of just some of the symptoms – Lyme Disease Symptoms List.
Co-infections can increase these symptoms as many create similar symptoms. Here is a list of co-infections and related symptoms – Co-Infections Chart.
Some of the common misdiagnoses include Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Atherosclerosis (ALS), Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Bell’s Palsy, Lupus, Autism, and more.
Unfortunately, a majority of doctors aren’t aware of Lyme Disease as current medical training doesn’t teach it. Even in highly endemic areas it can be challenging to find someone who is truly knowledgeable. However, there are doctors who are trained specifically on Lyme Disease and co-infections knowns as Lyme Literate Medical Doctors (LLMD’s) or Lyme Literate Naturopathic Doctors (LLND’s).
When choosing a doctor either for diagnosis or treatment of Lyme Disease and/or co-infections you will want to do online research to find out more about who they are, what they believe, and the types of treatments they offer. Then choose the doctors who resonate with you. It’s best to choose a few doctors and to see more than one to get different opinions. This will help you assess the information you are given and to choose the right doctor, or team of doctors for you.
SPREAD THE WORD
Know someone who may have Lyme Disease? Someone who has strange and changing symptoms? Possibly someone with an above diagnosis? Want to educate your friends, family and colleagues? Spread the word about Lyme Disease Awareness Month as anyone can become infected at any time anywhere in the world. And Knowledge Is Power! Just one share can change someone’s life. Getting a proper diagnosis changed mine. I will be posting my story in the near future.
You can join our #BillionHealthy movement, which is focused on positively affecting the Health of a Billion People around the world, by sharing the information in this website via e-mail, social media and in conversation. Use the hashtag #ChronicWellness in conjunction with #BillionHealthy when posting info on social media to show your commitment to being chronically well and to supporting others on their journey to health and wellbeing.
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I look forward to having you in the community and to hearing from you as you create, or maintain, your own chronic wellness lifestyle!
And I look forward to supporting you as you help others to do the same.
-Serena Walker <3
Founder, Chronic Wellness Summits