Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted primarily by deer ticks and black-legged ticks. Most people falsely assume that, due to the general areas that these types of fleas occupy, that Lyme disease is more prominent in the East Coast than anywhere else in the United States. However, Lyme disease can spread to anywhere in the nation. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently theorize that 300,000 people or more all over the U.S. are diagnosed with and treating Chronic Lyme Disease every year.
The Scope of Those Afflicted
The number of people with Lyme disease is 1.5 times higher than the annual number of women diagnosed with breast cancer and 6 times higher than the annual number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Still, it’s possible that the numbers are much higher. Diagnosing Lyme disease is extremely challenging since many of its symptoms match those of other, less serious conditions. In many cases, people with Lyme disease are misdiagnosed the first or even second time. This is part of what makes treating chronic Lyme disease so difficult.
Early Infection to Chronic Disease
During the early stages of the infection, Lyme disease is strikingly similar to influenza (the flu). Common symptoms between the two conditions include high fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle soreness. As the infection develops, some people may develop a very distinctive bull’s-eye-like rash around the site of the tick bite. However, most people with Lyme disease never realize they were bitten by a tick because they never develop the rash.
When Lyme disease isn’t caught and treated in its early stages, the infection spreads and enters a state of dormancy in other parts of the body. Anywhere from weeks to years later, the disease awakens again and create problems in many areas of the body. Symptoms during this late stage of infection are unpredictable. They may come and go at different times, with or without treatment. Late stages of Lyme disease bring about a set of severe symptoms that can be difficult to treat. This is what we refer to as Chronic Lyme Disease.
About Chronic Lyme Disease
The long-term consequences of Lyme disease are staggering. Chronic Lyme Disease can heavily affect the skin, the muscles, joints, the digestive system, the reproductive system, the heart, and even the brain. Most symptoms and co-occurring mental issues of Chronic Lyme Disease include:
- Cognitive impairment
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain or stiffness
- Neurocognitive impairment
- Severe headaches
- Sleep impairment or insomnia
Two Standards of Care for Chronic Lyme Disease Patients
Because it’s tricky to identify and there are so many serious symptoms, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the science and medicine of Lyme disease. Today, there are two notable medical societies that are especially well-known for their conflicting views on the best ways of diagnosing and treating Chronic Lyme Disease.
The first medical society is the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). This group regards Lyme disease as a condition that is difficult to catch but exceptionally easy to cure. IDSA believes that with a short course of antibiotics, those who suffer from Lyme disease should see improvements within a relatively short period of time, depending on a variety of factors. Their theory states that the infection would not progress since the right combination of antibiotics would kill it completely. For this reason, IDSA denies that Chronic Lyme Disease exists at all. Instead, they believe the disease gets more aggressive the longer a patient goes without treatment or with inadequate treatment.
Alternatively, the second medical society, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), views Lyme disease as one that is difficult to diagnose and just as difficult to treat. This, in their opinion, best explains the persistent infection and severe symptoms in many Lyme disease patients. Unlike IDSA, ILADS believes that individualized treatment based on the symptoms (and their severity) is the best course of action in treating Chronic Lyme Disease. Doing so would treat not only the infection but also any co-infections and co-occurring mental illnesses.
Treating Chronic Lyme Disease with Help from Advocate My Meds
The IDSA and ILADS have vastly different ideas about how easy Lyme disease is to treat and how it should be treated. Still, most experts agree that the earlier you catch and treat the condition, the better. Most early treatments of Lyme disease are successful and result in few if any complications. Unfortunately, medical science hasn’t found the most effective antibiotics, best route of administration and the average duration of treatment for Chronic Lyme Disease yet. So far, there does not appear to be one single antibiotic or combination of medication that completely destroys the infection. However, medications and regular treatment do improve the quality of life for sufferers of Chronic Lyme Disease. If you or someone you care about needs help accessing the prescription medications needed for treating Chronic Lyme Disease, call Advocate My Meds at 877-596-1604.