What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by the Borrelia burgdoferi bacterium which is transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. Not all blacklegged ticks are infected and the tick must be attached to the skin for 36-48 hours in order to transmit the bacteria. The longer the tick is attached, the higher the risk of infection. It affects the skin, joints, heart and nervous system and is not contagious from person to person.
Borrelia burgdoferi is able to hide from and suppress the immune system. It mimics other illnesses and has widespread and seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as joint pain, constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches and muscle aches. For those with an already weakened immune system or high levels of environmental toxins, things can be much more complicated.
The first symptoms of Lyme disease may occur anywhere from 3 days to a month after being bitten. A rash known as erythema migraines will sometimes appear surrounding the bite, but not in all cases. It will begin as a red, itchy patch and is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms. It may expand in a bullseye pattern up to 12 inches across and may also appear on other areas of the body.
If left untreated, new symptoms will continue to occur in the following weeks, including:
- Pain and swelling in the joints, particularly the knees
- Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat
- Neurological problems (meningitis, Bell’s palsy, numbness or weakness of the limbs, impaired muscle movement)
- Inflammation of the eyes
If you think you may have Lyme disease, take the Horowitz Lyme-MSIDS Questionnaire. This may give you an idea if your widespread symptoms may indicate Lyme disease. The earlier the infection is caught the easier it is to treat so do not wait to make an appointment. The most common conventional way to test for Lyme disease is to measure specific antibodies in the blood. This method misses up to 60% of Lyme disease cases in the early stage, as it can take weeks for a detectable amount of antibodies to develop.
Most often, Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, either orally or intravenously, depending on the severity of the case. This will usually help to heal the rash and prevent later symptoms, such as arthritis or neurological problems, but not all patients respond appropriately to antibiotics.
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we use a functional medicine model to treat Lyme disease naturally. Whereas conventional healthcare focuses on the use of medication or other methods that suppress symptoms or block the natural function the body, we use natural therapies that work in conjunction with the body. Our treatments work by facilitating, enabling and assisting normal physiologic reactions. In other words, rather than fighting the body and its natural function, we support it, giving it the tools it needs to heal itself.
While antibiotics are necessary to kill the infection, a holistic approach is necessary to fully recover. Lyme disease suppresses the immune system and effects the entire body. This requires whole body support, including immune support, diet, supplementation, and more. We utilize concepts of detoxification, repairing leaky guy, activating T and B lymphocytes and natural-killer cells within the immune system, along with oxygenation and oxidation to stimulate the body’s natural defenses to fight Lyme and other related organisms, often called co-infections. By using a gentler approach than strong antibiotics and other prescription medications, we are able to achieve effective and safe results.