Physicians and medical professionals play an important role in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, but a patient is the true expert regarding their own health and well-being.
A Comprehensive Approach:
Many physicians will prescribe antibiotics for a Lyme infection, but the following are areas that may need to be addressed in treatment of disseminated Lyme disease and/or co-infections:
- Gastrointestinal Function
- Liver Function
- Chronic Inflammation
- Endocrine/Hormonal Dysfunction
- Neurological Problems
- Immune System Dysfunction
- Difficulty Sleeping/Insomnia
- Diet/Lifestyle Choices
- Relationships/Social Impact
- Cognitive difficulties
In his book The Lyme Disease Solution Dr. Kenneth B. Singleton, MD recommends consideration of diet, sleep patterns, exercise, mental health, relationships, spiritual connections, and environmental toxins along with medical intervention.
If you do not feel better after treatment for Lyme disease, or if you symptoms are severe, ask your doctor if you may have a co-infection.
Tick/Insect transmitted co-infections:
Babesiosis, bartonellosis, erlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Southern tick associated rash illness (STARI), tularemia, Q-fever, relapsing fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Mycoplasmas, brucellas, chlamydias, salmonellas, leptospirosis, and chronic viral infections (including herpes).
Caring for a family member with complex Lyme disease can be extremely challenging. Many families experience:
- Difficulty finding treatment (and/or long commutes to physicians)
- Financial problems – due to treatments not covered by health insurance, or job loss/reduced hours/disability
- Trouble making diet and lifestyle changes recommended by medical providers
- Difficulty planning ahead (due to the unpredictability of Lyme symptoms)
- Challenges explaining their diagnosis and illness to others
- Difficulty caring for children, or participating in community and social activities
A positive Lyme test does not mean someone has Lyme disease. It may mean that a person was infected in the past and the body produced antibodies that successfully eliminated the Bb bacteria. Also, some viral illnesses or other infections can trigger the body to make antibodies against Lyme – even in the absence of a current Lyme infection. A negative test may not rule out Lyme disease, especially if you have symptoms.
Treating Lyme and Tick-borne diseases
It is important to find a doctor willing to participate in a partnership with you in the treatment of Lyme and Tick-borne diseases. It is also important that you be proactive about your health. Medical professionals can be excellent resources, but much of your ability to heal depends on you. Educate yourself about Lyme and tick-borne diseases. Make food selections, prevention efforts, and lifestyle choices that support your healing.
If you know of a resource in Vermont that would be beneficial to individuals and families affected by Lyme disease please let us know!