Lyme disease is most notably transmitted by ticks, nature’s “dirty needle”, but can also be transmitted by horse flies, mosquitoes, and really any other bug that will drink blood. It is known to cause a round ring around the bitten area. Typically it is treated by use of antibiotics and it goes away. However, there are some aspects of this bug that can be absolutely frustrating for the patient and the doctor alike.
The biggest problem is with the understanding of how it presents. Practitioners are taught in school that there must be a round rash for it to be Lyme disease. Unfortunately, Lyme can be transmitted without ever causing a circular rash and this can cause the Lyme to not be caught. The symptoms may be at such a low level that the patient thinks they just have a common cold until it builds into something that feels very bad. Sometimes they develop pain all over the body or within their joints. But the patient and the doctor never think of Lyme disease because there was never a rash.
Let’s say that we decide that we do want to test for Lyme disease. Well, things are about to get even more frustrating. Lyme can hide in many places from testing and from your own immune system. When your white blood cells, the police of the body, are going through to fight bad bacteria they recognize the good cells by identifying proteins on their surface. It is sort of like a security badge that says, “Yes, I belong here.” Well, Lyme can rip off one of those badges and wear it on themselves. So the police come through trying to find cells that shouldn’t be there and they think Lyme is one of them. Even worse, Lyme can actually hide inside of the white blood cells. This is insanely frightening. This bacterium isn’t being a parasite to get something from the white blood cell. It is only inside of the white blood cell to hide from the immune system. So now, you’re tested for Lyme but we’re not picking up anything on testing because its hiding and your immune system isn’t reacting to it because it can’t find the Lyme.
Finally, it can be largely antibiotic resistant. So some people get antibiotics over and over again to get rid of it. But it doesn’t work. The Lyme either develops a resistance, has a resistance already, or is hiding somewhere the antibiotic cannot get to it. Luckily, there are other things that can kill Lyme disease. Sometimes Lyme can be very persistent but there are ways to get a person with Lyme feeling better. I have even seen people get over the infection and live without symptoms and without having to do treatment forever. You just have to know everything about how the testing works so you can find it and make sure its gone once you treat it. You also need to know how to kill it and if that doesn’t work, then what to do next.
If you’ve been everywhere and cannot find anyone who can tell you what is going on, it is possible that Lyme is rearing its ugly head. This is because it isn’t considered, it might not show up on conventional testing, and it might hide for a while and come out to run amuck randomly. A lot of doctors don’t know about the new testing that we can do for Lyme Disease. If we find Lyme with our advanced testing then we will refer you out for the proper care.