Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lyme Disease - Could You Get It?

This is a little off topic but we wanted to pass it along to our friends. Lyme Disease is real and isn’t rare despite what your doctor may tell you. How do we know? Our dog Bair, Ginger, and our friend Larry Hagen have all recently been diagnosed with it. We mention Bair because were it not for him being diagnosed with it first, Ginger’s doctor indicated that she would have initially run other tests.
Why are many doctors hesitant to give the blood test to patients? Well, it’s hard to say but the number one reason we’ve heard is that most doctors don’t think it is common or even something people in their area get. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.  Without question, it is in our area and many other areas of the US and also other countries. Yet, Lyme disease symptoms do resemble many other disease symptoms and therefore diagnosing Lyme Disease may seem to a doctor to be a shot in the dark.
Like I said, Lyme Disease symptoms are often similar to other health issues. If a patient doesn’t remember being bitten, as is usually the case, a doctor will most likely feel the need to run heart tests, joint scans, and everything else because other things are more common and could potentially be more serious in the short term. In the long term though, Lyme Disease is something you don’t want to live with undiagnosed. If you don’t catch it early, it can be severely debilitating.
There are several things you should know about Lyme Disease. First, it is the tiny Deer Tick that carries and transmits the disease. They are usually reddish in color and they are about the size of a head of a large pin. They have to be attached to your skin for at least 24 hrs to transmit the disease but watch the area, and yourself, for symptoms of the disease should you remove one you believe has been on you less than 24 hrs. Many places say 70-80% of people with Lyme Disease get the bulls-eye rash but other more recent studies indicate as few as 30% get it. Therefore, don’t assume you don’t have it if you do not get the rash. Ginger did not get a rash. This is why it is important to look for symptoms. Here’s a site that covers them all. It also gives you a checklist. If you circle 20 or more symptoms you need to be tested.
The prescribed way to kill the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease is with antibiotics. The sooner you get the antibiotics into your system, the better your chances of getting rid of the disease without any long term health problems. But there is a problem with antibiotics. For so long, antibiotics were prescribed for so many things and so often that it began to cause a problem of super bacteria. In turn, there has been a huge movement to limit the use of antibiotics. Therefore, it now seems the pendulum has often swung too far the other way to the point doctors are hesitant to prescribe them when they would help. This leaves many physicians extra-cautious about diagnosing Lyme Disease.
If you are a doctor, feel free to add your thoughts on this subject. We are going only from what we have learned and the stories of others who have told us of their experience with this disease. Ginger was fortunate in that she had a great doctor who actively listened and obviously wanted to make sure she got the correct diagnosis. Thanks Dr. Jett.
Oh, I almost forgot, there is something very important for you to know. Studies have shown that taking 200mg of Doxycycline after a severe tick bite works like a morning after pill and keeps you from getting the disease. The problem is that you don’t want to take one of these pills every time you get a tick bite. You want to know or feel very sure the tick has been in your skin for over 24 hours. Unfortunately, over 50% of people who get Lyme Disease never knew they were bitten because the ticks are so small. Ginger was lucky because she knew of the bite. When she began to get the symptoms, she had a doctor that listened to her story and symptoms and made the decision to test for Lyme immediately. That made a huge difference.
Today, Ginger is feeling much better. Her symptoms came on during the tornado clean up and so she thought she was just worn out from all that was going on. Then she began to sleep all day and stated that she felt like she was in a fog. We remembered the bite and she went to the doctor. The diagnosis came within six weeks of the bite and thanks to that it appears she will come out the other side with no lasting issues.  Even with that though, it often takes up to six months for someone like her to get over all the symptoms.

1 comment:

Advin Charles said...

Lyme condition is a condition that its main form of transmission to ticks. It is Basically a creepy bug that burrows into your skin.

Lyme disease symptoms