Lyme Disease seems to be everywhere these days, but it’s a very confusing issue that most people (including many doctors) don’t understand.
Here are some lyme disease facts that can help you understand this condition better so you are better armed with information to protect yourself and your loved ones.
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Lyme Disease Symptoms
Look at the following list of symptoms. They’re pretty terrible, aren’t they?
– widespread joint and muscle pain
– severe fatigue
– headache, rashes
– unexplained fevers
– swollen glands
– heart palpitations
– bowel problems
– interstitial cystitis
– TMJ, muscle spasms
– nerve pain
– abdominal pain
– double vision
– sensitivity to light and sound
– menstrual irregularity
What if I told you all of these symptoms could indicate Lyme Disease?
Ridiculous right? How could a tiny bug cause so many health problems?
Besides, it seems like everyone and their dog has Lyme Disease lately. It’s just the newest catch-all fad disease right? Or is it?
I know how you feel because I’ve thought the same.
That list above is just a tiny sampling of all the symptoms I’ve experienced in varying degrees over the last 16 years of my life. I’d spent years searching for answers to the problems that plagued me every day, finding no answers beyond “fibromyalgia”.
When a friend suggested to me I could have Lyme Disease and I should watch the Under Our Skin documentary I honestly was offended.
“Ya right!,” I thought. “Seriously…how could a bug do all this to me?“
One afternoon, I sat down in front of my computer and caved in. I had to find an answer to the question, “What is Lyme Disease?” and as I found out, I was horrified.
As I watched, tears streamed down my face… I saw the playing out of my own life before my eyes. I finally understood my life and I saw Lyme Disease for what it truly is.
You see… Lyme Disease is much more sinister than most people give it credit for.
Why is Lyme so sinister?
What Is Lyme Disease, Anyway?
Let’s explore together…
Dr. Richard Horowitz, a leading Lyme expert, says Lyme is “the number 1 worldwide epidemic… it’s spreading, it’s mimicking every disease and it’s going to destroy the world’s population.”
Earlier this year the CDC released new statistics for Lyme, admitting they were way off on their earlier estimations of Lyme in the United States.
The number? 300,000 Americans each year. This is 10 times more than what they had previously estimated!
Most Lyme experts still think these numbers are inaccurate, citing that many people are not reporting to the CDC, while others have been misdiagnosed with things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, MS, Alzheimer’s, or rheumatoid arthritis.
How does Lyme cause ALL those symptoms?
Not every aspect of how Lyme Disease bacteria work is fully understood.
I did a simplistic explanation of one function of the borrelia spirochete’s initial action within the body here. There’s a lot more going on in the body that leads to this hefty list of ailments.
One of the first jobs of the spirochete is to release neurotoxins.
As the name implies, neurotoxins release toxins into the nervous system, inhibiting communication of neurons (the cell that processes and transmits through your body’s electrical system) through synapses (the means to transport these electrical signals between cells).
Notably, artificial fragrances are also neurotoxins!
Additionally, spirochetes cause our body to produce too many cytokines.
Cytokines are proteins who’s job is to fight infection. (Sounds like a person would need lots of those to fight a Lyme Disease infection right?)
In a normal infection, cytokines would increase, do their job, and then decrease again.
However, as mentioned above, the corkscrew bacteria of Lyme Disease make their way into every organ of the body (usually with their co-bacteria friends) causing the body to produce cytokines in excess.
Excess cytokine production leads to inflammation which leads to pain and muscle wasting, immune system suppression, disturbed sleep, severe fatigue, thyroid and adrenal problems, problems with body organs, and more.
8 Not So Fun Facts About Lyme Disease and Ticks
Lyme Is Caused By More Than Just Borrelia
Lyme Disease is caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi, but there are other strains of Borrelia. I personally have 4 strains… Parkeri, Kochii, Persica, and Recurrentis. I do not have Burgdorferi and many others do not, however the symptoms and treatment are the same so most doctors will call it Lyme as well. Calling it Borreliosis is more accurate. (But for our purposes we will stick to Lyme.)
Ticks Don’t Fly
Ticks do not fly, jump or blow in the wind.They come out in cool, wet weather and come out seeking carbon dioxide… i.e. your breath! They spend their time in tall grass and when you walk by, they catch a ride.
Lyme Brings Co-infection “Friends” With It
Lyme Disease rarely travels alone.
Ticks often carry co-infections as well… Mycoplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, and Ehrlichia are the most common. (Click here for a full listing.) These carry their own complicating symptoms that can be just as severe or worse than Lyme, and often require separate treatment regimens.
Bullseye Rash Myth
Only 50% of people get a bullseye rash!
The other 50% may have another form of a rash or no rash at all. And only 10% of children with Lyme Disease present with a bullseye rash.
Other Bugs Carry Lyme
Ticks are not the only bugs that carry Lyme Disease!
It once was thought that only ticks carry the disease, not only that, but only deer ticks. Sadly, this is untrue.
While deer ticks are still the number one source of Lyme Disease, lice, fleas, mosquitos, and other blood-sucking bugs have been found to contain borrelia bacteria or other bacteria associated with Lyme. Whether they can transmit it in the same way as ticks is yet to be discovered. (source and source)
Other types of ticks such as the American Dog tick have been proven to carry Lyme and co-infections as well.
Lyme Might Come from People Too
Lyme Disease can possibly be transmitted from person to person.
It is thought that it might be passed sexually, and also through saliva, organ transplant, blood transfusion (f.y.i – blood banks don’t test for it!), breast milk, and through the placenta to the unborn child. (source)
You Likely Can Recover From Lyme Easily If….
If you catch Lyme Disease right away and treat it, your odds of recovery are very good, not 100%, but very good.
You Likely Can NOT Recover From Lyme Easily If…
Lyme is NOT easy to treat if you don’t catch it right away.
Many mainstream doctors claim Lyme Disease, in it’s later stages, is simply treated with a few rounds of antibiotic and any remaining symptoms are “post Lyme” and will not go away.
This is untrue as well. Chronic Lyme disease treatment is possible, but it can be very difficult.
Lyme Tests Are Unreliable
It’s VERY hard to test for Lyme.
This information is very important. You can test for lyme and have a false negative. Some tests are better than others, but no test is perfect.
In fact, Adrienne had lyme likely for many years and didn’t know it until she went to an Amish clinic just to see what they would say about her health.
She had a blood microscopy test (they looked at her blood right there in the clinic). In her blood, there were spirochetes eating her red blood cells!
Even blood microscopy isn’t valid all the time since those buggers like to hide.
So, basically testing is hard. Igenix has a good test and there are others.
You can read more about lyme disease testing in this post.
Now that you have answered the question, “What is Lyme Disease” and you are armed with all of this information, it’s terrifying, isn’t it?
I know it all sounds super scary and overwhelming but it is not my intention to incite fear. However Lyme Disease is a growing epidemic and after all, I have suffered over the years, I see it as my duty to inform others about Lyme Disease.
Be aware, but don’t live in fear.
My children still go into the woods to play.
Do I worry?
Yes, but living in fear of the unknown will paralyze me so I choose daily to trust that God will protect them and I take simple steps to be proactive.
Help for Addressing Lyme Disease
More Posts About Lyme
Helpful Books About Lyme Disease
The following books are some great options as well.
This book goes into more detail about what Lyme Disease is and what can be done to recover from it. It has great reviews.
The Lyme Disease Solution
The Lyme Disease Solution is a thorough guide to the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and other tick borne infections. Dr. Kenneth Singleton, the authori, is a board certified specialist in Internal Medicine. He struggled with severe Lyme symptoms for 8 years before being accurately diagnosed and treated.
The book is full of information that's presented in an easy to read manner. Whether you have Lyme, or know someone who does, this book is sure to be a helpful resource.
Stephen Buehner is regarded as a wealth of knowledge by many who struggle with Lyme. This book on Lyme coinfections is one of many that he’s authored.
(Please note – nothing in this post or in the comments was meant to be a medical diagnosis or advice. Please consult with your physician prior to changing your diet or supplements. This information was meant for educational and entertainment purposes only.)
Have you been diagnosed with Lyme Disease—or wondered “What is Lyme Disease” or if you have this horrid disease?
Corah Webber is the original author of this post. She is a writer, artist, and mother of 2. She splits her time between homeschooling, doodling in notebooks, researching health problems, and daydreaming. Her passion for health and blogging arose out of her own 18 year struggle with a misdiagnosed health condition that turned out to be Lyme Disease. She dreams about starting an urban farm and going back to school to be a Naturopath Doctor once she is feeling better.