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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kari Young

Lyme Disease: A Tick-ing Time Bomb

Updated: Sep 20, 2023


What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease. It’s most often spread through a tick bite, although it can be carried by other insects that bite, such as mosquitoes, spiders, and deer flies.

Lyme disease is caused by an infection of borrelia bacteria primarily carried by ticks. Lyme is most often caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi. There are several different species depending on your area. Deer ticks are the most common carriers in North America.


The first diagnosed case of Lyme disease was in Lyme, Connecticut, in the early 1970s, which is how it got its name. Originally, it was mistaken for an epidemic of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis due to its symptoms of joint pain and swelling, inflammation, and sometimes a fever and rash. Finally, the cause was identified as an infection in 1975.

How Do You Get Lyme?

A tick has three stages in its life cycle: larva, nymph, and adult.


Larva ticks are the size of a grain of sand, while nymph ticks are about the size of a poppy seed, and an adult tick is the size of an apple seed. It’s during the nymph stage that ticks most often transmit Lyme disease.


They are easy to miss because of how small they can be and when they feed, they swell with blood which makes them difficult to recognize. They may stay attached for a few days before being discovered.


In the U.S. ticks are most active between the months of April and September, and most common in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest. In states where Lyme disease is common, the incidence is currently about 40 cases per 100,000 individuals. However, Lyme is very much underdiagnosed.

The most tell-tale sign of Lyme disease is the bull’s-eye rash (Erythema Migrans). This may surround the site of the tick bite. However, most people never develop the bullseye rash, so it’s best to go in for testing.

How Do You Test For Lyme Disease?

Testing for Lyme disease involves specific blood tests. The medical doctors will likely run the ELISA and Western blot, which is a two pro-pronged approach. If the ELISA is positive then a Western Blot will be run. If one or both are negative it does not mean you do not have Lyme since it is highly inaccurate and may miss about half of Lyme cases.


One of the most reliable Lyme disease tests is through a company called Igenix, and they test for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases as well. Another more affordable option is Vibrant Wellness. The accuracy is comparable to Igenix and costs less. You can get a full Lyme panel to test for different borrelia species as well as co-infections (which are common with Lyme).


When you run this test the timing of the test is very important in order to get the most accurate results.


Lyme is known as the great imitator, and often many other autoimmune diseases get misdiagnosed, when it was actually Lyme disease.


If Lyme is left untreated, the infection may spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system.

Chronic Lyme Disease

Many scientists and medical doctors no longer acknowledge chronic Lyme disease as a legitimate condition, and now refer to it as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).


Only if a patient took antibiotics for Lyme and still has chronic Lyme symptoms will it be considered post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.


If a person did not do the antibiotics for Lyme then it will be diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, which then they will admit may be caused by an infection. Some experts even claim those who talk about chronic Lyme disease are committing health fraud.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

There are three stages of Lyme disease: 1) early localized, 2) early disseminated, and 3) late disseminated.

Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include:

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Joint & muscle pain

  • Red bull’s eye rash

  • Swollen lymph nodes

Later signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness, more rashes on other areas of the body.

  • Arthritis in large joints like the knees or hips.

  • Facial palsy, A Hallmark sign is pain that comes and goes or migrates to a different area each day, meaning never quite the same day to day. This pain is typically located in muscles, joints, tendons, and bones, Lyme loves tendons, cartilage, bones.

  • Lyme arthritis, Irregular heartbeat (also known as Lyme carditis).

  • Neurological symptoms, including nerve pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands or feet.

These late disseminated symptoms may occur if Lyme is left untreated, disrupting multiple systems. And unfortunately when Lyme is not diagnosed early on or missed, people end up suffering years or even decades of debilitating symptoms.

How Does a Medical Clinic Treat Lyme?

Tick removal is the first step, and must be done properly by using tweezers and doing the “tick tornado” move using a tick removal kit that incorporates this move into their tool. And it is critical to safely remove the tick, still intact. Prompt removal of ticks can reduce the likelihood of infection. Keep a tick remover on your keychain during tick season.


The medical treatment for Lyme disease is to give an antibiotic soon after a bite by an infected tick. Which is only effective if done in the first 3 months. And a must-do if you are lucky enough to catch it in that early stage. Taking the antibiotic is worth the potential negative side effects in this case.

To avoid getting bitten again, medical clinicians usually recommend finding a bug spray with DEET, however DEET is a known neurotoxin. They also recommend treating clothing before going out into high tick areas with permethrin, and it also has risks if it gets on the skin or you breathe it.

How Do You Treat Lyme Disease Naturally?

Tick removal is the first step, and must be done properly by using tweezers and doing the “tick tornado” move using a tick removal kit that incorporates this move into their tool. And it is critical to safely remove the tick, still intact. Prompt removal of ticks can reduce the likelihood of infection. Keep a tick remover on your keychain during tick season.

The medical treatment for Lyme disease is to give an antibiotic soon after a bite by an infected tick. Which is only effective if done in the first 3 months. And a must-do if you are lucky enough to catch it in that early stage. Taking the antibiotic is worth the potential negative side effects in this case.

To avoid getting bitten again, medical clinicians usually recommend finding a bug spray with DEET, however DEET is a known neurotoxin. They also recommend treating clothing before going out into high tick areas with permethrin, and it also has risks if it gets on the skin or you breathe it.

Take Precautions and Prevent Lyme Disease!

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten in the first place. Here are some things you can do to lessen your chances of having a tick crawling around and attaching:

  • Wear long pants when heading to wooded areas.

  • Opt for light-colored clothing with a long-sleeved shirt

  • Use a natural insect repellent with essential oils.

  • Avoid walking in tall grasses or near shrubs.

  • Tuck your pants into your socks.

  • Wear a hat or put hair up.

  • Remove clothing immediately after returning home.

  • Do a full body check using a mirror, and then take a shower.

  • Check common areas where ticks attach, such as under the arms, in or around the hair, in or around the ears, around the waist, the back of the knees, between the legs, or even inside the belly button.

These are excellent practices when spending time outdoors. And also it is important to make yourself more resistant to infections and more resilient when exposed.

Final Thoughts on Ticks and Lyme

Like all infectious diseases, Lyme is more likely to occur in those of us whose immune systems are worn down. Each experience with Lyme is unique, and personalized care is essential.

Best Approach is to get Help

Lyme disease treatment can get complicated and there are almost always other co-infections and factors involved, and it is best to have help through the process.

I specialize in Lyme disease and Lyme disease protocols, and have helped many clients over the years fully heal from Lyme disease. If you are suffering from Lyme and want us to guide you through the process, reach out to us and let us know.

 

“For the past 5 years, the pain in my body has grown progressively worse. I start my day literally crawling on the floor, and it is no longer possible to dance with my kids. And unable to even go up stairs, I use my hands for work, and am afraid that I won’t be able to work.


Dr. Young was able to diagnose that I actually had Lyme disease and never knew that, then I followed her protocols for me exactly as instructed, and each month felt significant improvement. It was so exciting because I knew I was improving and going towards health each and every month. Now give my 2 year-old piggy back rides, for the first time in my life, I literally have my life back.” - Chase D.

 

“ I was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis, and my Rheumatologist told me that I would be on meds for life. My sister-in-law referred me to Dr. Young, and she determined that the root cause was Lyme disease. My gut is now doing great after years of digestion discomfort. And bowels finally moving regularly daily, eyes no longer red and inflamed. I had body pain all over, and am now able to be pain free and inflammation free. I just got an optimal WBC panel, where in the past the Lymphocytes, Neutrophils, and Monocytes had all been severe because of Lyme disease”. - Kenny C.



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