Lyme Disease Overview
Lyme disease is transmitted by a bite from an Ixodes tick infected with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Once the spirochete enters your blood stream, it can affect skin, joints, heart and nervous systems. It is often referred to as “The Great Imitator”, because Lyme disease can affect any organ of the body mimicking other diseases. According to the Department of Public Health, Lyme disease first became apparent in 1975 in the town of Lyme, Connecticut. Many children and adults developed uncommon arthritis symptoms. In 1977, Lyme arthritis was linked to the Ixodes scapularis blacklegged tick. In 1982, the disease was officially named Lyme disease. Lyme disease has to be reported to the CDC but all patient identifiers are left out so the information given can never be linked back to the actual patient. From 1992-1998, the CDC had 88,967 reported cases of Lyme disease from 49 states. Ninety six percent of reported cases are from the following 13 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. The majority occurs during the months of May through August. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States according to the CDC in 2011. If the patient is treated during the early stages of the disease, they are expected to fully recover rapidly. It is possible to become reinfected with Lyme disease. Lyme disease is not contagious from an infected person. It has been shown that flies, fleas, spiders, mosquitoes and other insects can also carry the spirochete and cause the infection.
Prevention is key, when living or visiting endemic areas. It is advised to wear long sleeve clothing and long pants that are tucked into socks when hiking outdoors in wooded areas. Bathe skin and scalp and wash clothing upon return home. Examine children and pets for ticks. You should not use any insect repellent containing the toxic chemical DEET (diethyltoluamide) because it is carcinogenic. Rose geranium, palo santo, peppermint, citronella, lemon grass and oregano essential oil have shown to be efficacious at keeping the bugs at bay. Daily body exams for ticks are crucial if you live in endemic areas. Remove any ticks with fine tipped tweezers close to the skin’s surface. Pull firmly upward, on tick’s mouth not body, until the tick releases its hold. Clean bite and hands with alcohol, iodine or soap and water. Save the tick in a jar or baggie for future identification.
Life Cycle of a Tick
Ticks feed one time during each of their three stages of life. The first stage is a larva, which is less than 1 mm in size. Larval ticks feed in late summer. Transmission through contact with an infected larva is very unlikely. Larvae become infected from feeding on an infected white footed mouse. Larvae molt into a nymph in late spring. Nymphs are a size of a poppy seed and can go undetected. Their preferred host is also the white-footed mouse but humans can accidentally become infected by nymphs. The disease is transmitted in the tick’s saliva after prolonged feeding. Ticks must feed 24-36 hours or longer to transmit infection. Ticks then mature into adults usually in late summer or early fall. A female adult can be 2-3 mm in size with a red body and black legs. Adult ticks prefer to feed on the white tailed deer. Humans can also become infected from a bite by an adult tick. Tick bites are usually painless and the tick can swell to 2-3 times its original size during feeding. In 2-4 days, after feeding, the tick drops off. The longer an infected tick is attached, the higher the risk of transmission in human blood.
Ixodes scapularis is the tick that carries Lyme disease in the Northeastern, North central, and mid Atlantic areas of the United States. It is also referred to as the blacklegged tick or “deer tick”. It carries Lyme disease as well as anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Ixodes pacificus or the blacklegged tick carries the disease on the West coast of the United States. It carries Lyme disease and anaplasmosis.
Lone Star Tick
Amblyomma americanum is a tick found in the Southeast and Eastern United States. They feed on the white tailed deer and transmit a Lyme-like disease called STARI (southern tick associated rash illness). STARI produces a rash that is indistinguishable from the rash associated with Lyme disease. Cases of reported Lyme disease in the southern states are more likely to be STARI. The Ambylomma americanum tick also carries ehrlichiosis and tularemia.
Stages of Lyme Disease and Treatment
1. First Stage: Early Localized Stage – Skin Inflammation
At the bite site a red skin rash called erythema migrans forms. It can last for 4 weeks or more. If you notice a red, non-itchy rash, looking like a bull’s eye, that expands over time or have a headache, fever or flu like symptoms a few days after a hike in a Lyme infested area, you will be lucky enough to realize that you may have been bit by a tick. Many people do not show any symptoms at this stage. You have 36 hours after the tick is attached to your body to avoid Lyme disease. So look for the tick and remove it following directions in the prevention section. You have less than 72 hours after removing the tick to treat the infection successfully with antibiotics and without a diagnostic test. Amoxicillin and doxycycline are the most commonly used antibiotics.
2. Second Stage: Early Disseminated Lyme Disease: 1 to 4 months
If the tick was not removed on time or the bite went unnoticed, it may take a few years and several doctors to get the exact diagnosis.
The bacteria spread in the body causing flu like symptoms, joint pain, and neurological symptoms such as weakness in the legs and arms, confusion and cardiovascular symptoms such as palpitation or fainting. Hopefully, a doctor will think about testing for Lyme disease at this time and the infection will be detected. The center for disease control guidelines recommends a 2 step testing: ELISA screening followed by a Western Blot test for reconfirmation if the results are positive or equivocal. Treatment will include the same oral and intravenous antibiotics for a longer period of time.
3. Third Stage: Late Disseminated Stage
If Lyme disease goes undetected for years, it spreads to the entire body and affects multiple systems. The symptoms become more and more severe. The most frequent symptoms are arthritis, mostly of the knees, neurological symptoms affecting memory, mood and sleep disturbance and heart problems. At this stage, more antibiotics are prescribed, oral and intravenous, for 2 to 4 weeks. Unfortunately, most antibiotics will not reach the spirochete established in cells and deep tissues.
4. Fourth Stage: Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome or Chronic Lyme Disease
After treatments with long course of antibiotics, symptoms of debilitating fatigue, pain, confusion and body aches persist. It is unclear if the antibiotics have failed at eliminating the spirochete or if tissue damage is the cause of the symptoms. More antibiotics are delivered.
Our Lyme Detox is for all stages of Lyme disease and co-infections whether treated by antibiotics or not.
The uncontrolled spread of the disease from a localized point of entry to the entire body demonstrates clearly that the immune system was unable to contain the infection right from the beginning. It is difficult for the immune system to fight the infection for several reasons:
The bacteria produce a protective biofilm that renders it invisible to the immune system.
The spirochete infects the B-lymphocyte cells of the immune system, the very cells that are supposed to produce antibodies to fight the infection, therefore paralyzing the immune system.
The problem with antibiotic treatment is that the focus is on eliminating the bacterium not on treating the cause of the symptoms of the disease: the biotoxins produced by the bacterium. The Lyme spirochete produces fat-soluble toxins that are quickly removed from circulation and stored in nerves, muscles, joints and brain or they are re-circulated in the blood through the bile produced by the liver. These hard to eliminate toxins are responsible for the brain fog, joint pain, fatigue and other symptoms experienced by the Lyme sufferer.
What Are These Toxins?
There are three sources of toxins. Lyme toxins are produced by the living bacteria, by the decomposing bacteria from the die off (Herxheimers reaction) and by the body as a response to the infection.
1. Ammonia Neurotoxins
Borrelia burgdorferi, produces an increased amount of ammonia and nitric oxide. These substances create inflammation of the brain cells. It is recommended to avoid high protein foods such as grains and meats, containing the amino acid L- arginine, a precursor of ammonia and nitric oxide. L-arginine will also feed the herpes simplex virus a frequent co-infection. Lithium orotate will prevent damage from ammonia neurotoxin.
Aldehydes are neurotoxin produced by alcohol fermentation and metabolism commonly experienced as a hangover the morning after a night of over drinking. Yeast and Lyme infections can also produce aldehydes. Aldehydes can be converted into acetic acid a harmless compound in the presence of nutrients such as glutamine, selenium, niacin folic acid, B6, B12, iron and molybdenum.
3. Herpes Co-Infection, Parasites, Fungus, Yeast
Because the spirochete infection weakens the immune system, many other infections are present. The co-infecting agents must be identified and treated appropriately. Supplementation with L-lysine will block the replication of the herpes virus and herbal remedies such as clove or wormwood will target detected parasitic infections. Candida treatment will involve dietary restriction of sugars and starch and specific herbal anti-fungals.
4. Heavy Metal and Candida Complexes
Often, heavy metal toxicity may preexist to the bacteria infection. A synergistic effect has been observed between candida and mercury and Lyme biotoxins and heavy metals.
A Urine DMSA challenge test will determine the toxic load of most common heavy metals as well as light metals necessary to the body. Mineral deficiencies in particular magnesium is often observed. Chelation for heavy metals is recommended at the beginning of the treatment.
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