Lyme Disease Risk and Treatment
Philip K. was desperate when he walked into my office.
It had been a few years since I’d seen him. Philip had been too healthy to need much help from me.
But on this day, he was suffering from a serious problem. His hand was swollen—very swollen. To the point he couldn’t make a fist, and he was in serious pain.
He’d seen all sorts of doctors. An orthopedist had given him x-rays. An internist went with MRIs. He’d been poked, prodded, and examined every which way—to no avail.
But it didn’t take me long to guess what Philip’s real problem was.
I wasn’t surprised his other doctors missed it. It’s hard to diagnose—especially after it’s settled into the body. And there are very few tests that can see it.
The symptoms are so varied, that it can present as any number of ailments and diseases. If you aren’t thinking about the possibility from the start, doctors will usually only turn to it when everything else has been exhausted.
That’s why this is something you need to be on the lookout for yourself. And the danger areas are greater than you originally thought.
Wait too long, and this disease becomes a nightmare. But catch it early, and it’s exceptionally treatable.
Let’s take a quick look at why that is—and how you can protect yourself from this insidious problem.
The Disease That Can Ruin Your Life
When Philip came to me, he was suffering from Lyme disease.
If you catch Lyme disease early—sometime before the one month mark, or thereabouts—it’s not too big of a deal. A course of oral antibiotics will cure it.
But over time, Lyme disease wriggles its way into all sorts of nooks and crannies. What starts out as a blood-borne illness can worm itself into muscle, soft tissue, organs—anywhere in your body.
That’s why Lyme disease can look like just about anything. Worse, there is no foolproof test to check for Lyme. In the early stages, we look in the blood for antibodies, but the success rate is barely better than even (and later in the course of the disease—when the test results improve—it’s often too late).
Wait too long, though, and Lyme disease becomes chronic and blood tests fail—the disease is already in the body’s soft tissues. At that point, I use a unique test from the Igenex lab, but very few doctors are even aware this test exists.
Once Lyme disease has gone into the body’s soft tissues, it becomes an uphill battle to get it under control.
Some doctors use massive doses of antibiotics. But of course, that wrecks the body’s natural biome, and shows only mixed results.
I often treat chronic Lyme disease with ultra-violet light—much gentler on the body, and it has a somewhat better track record than antibiotics. But it’s no guarantee.
Still others use the Cowden Protocol—treating with a mix of six different herbal remedies. But again, there is no sure way to beat a chronic case of Lyme.
In short, if you don’t catch Lyme disease in the first month or so, there’s no telling what it will do to you. Stubborn cases can fight off all our treatments, and bad cases can result in paralysis, or worse.
That’s why it’s so important to catch Lyme disease early. But doing so is harder than you think.
Coming At You From Multiple Angles
Most folks think that you can spot Lyme disease thanks to the friendly deer tick bite, with a tell-tale bulls-eye rash.
If only it were that simple.
First, only around 40% of infections through tick bites present with a rash.
Next, there are other tick-borne diseases that produce similar bulls-eye rashes, like southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
But the most worrying thing is, evidence is mounting that you can get Lyme without having been bitten by a tick at all.
You see, Lyme disease is a close relative of syphilis, and it works in the body in a similar way.
Now, one study suggests that Lyme disease can be spread sexually—it’s an STI.
It’s also possible that contact with other infected animals can result in transmission as well. That would help explain why Lyme disease is ten times as prevalent as once thought—infecting 300,000 people a year.
Bottom line: Lyme disease remains poorly understood. Our tests barely detect it, and we aren’t even sure how many ways it can spread. If you catch it early, it’s not dangerous—but after a month or two, it can attack any system in your body, and is very difficult to eradicate.
As you know, I’m no fan of overprescribing antibiotics. But for a tick bite followed by an unexplained fever, I could understand making an exception.
Lyme disease is no joke. Be careful in the woods. And be careful in the sheets. If you think you’ve been exposed, be proactive. Get an immediate diagnostic test, and treat it aggressively.
You could save your sight, your brain, your body, or your life.
Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: May 13, 2015