Lyme Wars — Chronic Lyme Disease Controversy And Treatment Explained

Since first being discovered in 1977 in Lyme, Connecticut, few if any diseases have held as much controversy as Lyme disease, especially chronic Lyme disease. Unfortunately, Lyme disease has been misdiagnosed for many patients and for many, chronic Lyme disease treatments have failed in the conventional model. In this article, we'll explore the best treatment methods for patients while providing critical background information.

Some doctors treat the disease with severity, while others are convinced the disease is all in the head or can be treated with a simple oral dose of antibiotics, such as a 30-day prescription of Doxycycline. But with persistent and extreme, debilitating symptoms such as chronic fatigue, aches and joint pain, headaches, depression and more, Lyme disease is coming to be a more serious and prevalent illness than previously thought.

Lyme Disease Patients — A Look Into The Life Of A Chronic Lyme Disease Patient

One thing that is for certain for patients with this disease is that they are suffering and that it isn't psychosomatic, i.e. all in their head. Another thing is most conventional testing models are inadequate or just plain miss the full diagnosis. Often, treatments work for only a short period of time. When the disease returns, it's often worse than before because during the course of the disease the infection drives deeper into the tissue and nervous system, weakening the immune system. We call this chronic Lyme disease complex.

To make this easier to understand, let's define Chronic Lyme Disease Complex (CLDC), based on our ten years of clinical experience and our Lyme literate medical doctors' experience with treating chronic infections, fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases. Our group defines CLDC as involving one or more factors: Lyme disease; its coinfections; the reactivation of dormant infections, such as viruses; and an immune compromised state that can be further complicated by heavy metal and chemical toxicities. How this differs from the CDC's definition is, they are treating Lyme disease in a vacuum as one infection and not clinically correlating it to the complete complex diagnosis that is typically seen in patients. Not to mention that the current testing and CDC standards used miss many cases and are inadequate.

Some doctors and medical boards deny that chronic Lyme disease exists, yet, any patient who has repeatedly tried different treatments to no avail will tell you otherwise. Our Lyme literate integrative medical doctors are not going to turn you away at the door and we're not going to just write you a prescription and cross our fingers. Our doctors have developed extensive testing protocols, personalized medical care and a methodology that looks at all factors, including immune system function, nutrition, genetics and Lyme disease's multiple coinfections. We have found that many patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome as well as rheumatologic and autoimmune diseases often have untreated chronic infections at their core.

Are you ready to look closer at a truly integrative medical diagnosis, one that might finally address your chronic Lyme disease? Then let's get started.

Anatomy of a Tick Bite — How Lyme Is Spread

It all starts with an insect that's barely the size of a period. In a strange yet terrifying way, the tick's life cycle is remarkable. Being the size of a poppyseed, they are hard to notice. Once they land on you, they spread antihistamines and other numbing chemicals so you won't even notice the bite. Next, they spread a sort of glue called cementum, which lets them stick to you. That's when they needle their jaws into your skin, sometimes riding you for five to seven days, but they need a lot less time than that to spread Lyme disease and its coinfections.

Despite the name, deer ticks are actually more likely to be found on smaller mammals, such as mice. And they don't carry just Lyme disease – each tick carries at least four other pathogens, some of which are more damaging than Lyme (borrelia burgdorferi.) Furthermore, we believe that Lyme disease and its coinfections activate many other dormant infections such as herpes virus 6 and Epstein Barr that often lies dormant in the body, creating a large scale 'war' within the immune system, allowing the infection to drive deeper into the tissue and nervous system.

One of the more common and brutal coinfections is Babesia, which is similar to malaria. There's also anaplasmosis, cytomegalovirus and other infections. It is estimated to mimic more than 350 diseases. This problem gets even worse if you get tested for Lyme, but none of these other infections are addressed.

Additionally, testing for Lyme disease is incredibly difficult, especially when using outdated testing models like most conventional medical centers. The model of testing was put in place by the Center for Disease Contraol (CDC) but was established for epidemiology studies, not clinical treatment for patients. In order to be diagnosed, you're told to look for a bull's-eye rash known as Erythema migrans, make sure you live in area where Lyme disease is common and you must present with all tell-tale signs and symptoms. But in 25% of Lyme cases, the rash never appears. Lyme disease is all over the US and Canada, yet patient symptoms can present differently or patients never notice it for years later.

In the end, medicine as a whole needs better testing, better trained physicians, and correct pathophysiological and immunological understanding of these infections. Chronic infections are linked to many chronic diseases that doctors must be aware of and trained in the full Lyme disease complex. It requires most physicians to rethink their limited knowledge in the area, and for patients to get with doctors that are trained to help them.

Now you can understand why this disease can be so devastating, not to mention frustrating to treat. Now let's learn about the pro's and con's of different approaches being taken to fight Lyme disease in the medical world.

The Conventional Method

There are several tests for determining if Lyme disease is present. There's ELISA, Immunglobin G and M and the Western blot, but the dark-field microscopy test with silver nitrate stain is probably the best test. However, the spirochete is only seen in about 40% of cases. The borrelia changes shape and hides intracellularly immediately when taken out of the host (human or animal) during a blood test. This method not always 100% accurate either. However, some doctors are now working on improving this method by creating a medium (serum) so that borrelia can live up to eight weeks and retest the blood when the spirochete reemerges from hiding.

So if testing isn't exactly perfect in the conventional method, how are doctors expected to make a correct diagnosis? Furthermore, how are they expected to monitor treatment effectively, preventing relapse? Not to mention, the problems when doctors do not fully test for all infections that go beyond Lyme disease. Most importantly, many doctors do not diagnosis the immune-compromised state that ultimately allows the disease to progress.

You have to go beyond the average testing protocols and treat the causes, not just blanket over the symptoms. At our clinic, we use a mixture of conventional treatment mixed with alternative medicine. This is what we call integrative medicine. Let's look closer at those treatments.

Alternative Treatments – Is It Science Or Is It Voodoo?

The term "alternative medicine" gets a lot of flack from the media, mainly because it varies on what it actually means. Some clinics may just prescribe you a handful of placebos, light some candles and hope for the best. Yes, that is terrible, but not all alternative clinics work this way.

Integrative medicine instead borrows the best from both worlds and ONLY uses treatments that have published, scientific backing to them. Some of these treatments are not yet FDA-approved, but in the mind of many researchers and doctors, they have been shown to be effective. Let's look at the basics.

Immunotherapy For A Compromised Immune System

Like with almost any disease, the immune system is critical in treating Lyme disease and its coinfections. When throwing antibiotics into the mix, the immune system becomes greatly compromised, especially when the disease starts to die off, spewing neurotoxins into the bloodstream. This is known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction and symptoms include fever, chills, anxiety, myalgia, headaches, hypotension, tachycardia (increased heart rate), hyperventilation, vasodilation with flushing and even exacerbation of skin lesions. Yes, that's right – recovering from Lyme disease can make you even more sick. As they say, it has to get worse before it gets better.

At our clinic, we rebuild the immune system from the ground up, allowing the body to better fight back against the Lyme, recover faster from treatment. Our group strives to provide patients with to the proper tools to return to long-term health and better quality of life.

Nutrition Therapy for Chronic Lyme Disease

Poor nutrition contributes greatly to poor health. When a disease attacks, someone who is in poor nutritional standing will have much more trouble fighting these infections, as they bring about nutritional deficiencies that impact adrenal health and elimination pathways. Oral supplements, vitamins, minerals and herbs have been helpful to patients, however, they're not nearly as bioavailable as intravenous application. You need a type of nutritional therapy that goes straight to the source, especially at the onset. This helps our patients achieve the best results in the long run.

Detoxification for Chronic Lyme Disease

In the world we live in today, filled with various pollutants and chemical toxins, it's very important to flush these foreign objects from the body and clear the immune system. Lyme patients have many extra toxins that are generated from the bacterial die-off called bacteria lipoproteins (BLPs), also known as neurotoxins. The neurotoxins interfere with every nerve and hormone function within the body. This must include removing heavy metals and chemical toxins that further complicate many cases. Many clinicians and physicians completely ignore these ingredients, which makes it much harder for successful Lyme disease recovery.

With the clinical experience of treating chronic Lyme disease complex and its coinfections, we believe patient and physician education is critical, in order for patients to receive the best treatment program. Our complete integrative approach, which combines advanced natural and conventional medicine, goes above and beyond the standard conventional route to get at the root of the disease. Really, this is the way forward to helping patients improve. To learn more or to answer any of your questions regarding our treatment options, please contact us today.