Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the US and is transmitted to humans by infected black-legged ticks or deer ticks. These ticks can be found in grasslands or heavily wooded areas and particularly in the New England and Rocky Mountain regions. In the United States, it is mainly caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii.
People who contract Lyme disease typically experience fever, headache, fatigue and have a specific skin rash which is called erythema migrans. It can eventually spread to the joints, heart and nervous system if left untreated. Each patient can have a variety of symptoms that can appear in several stages.
In the initial stages of Lyme disease, the patient will often develop a small red bump where they have been bitten by the tick, which can look very similar to a mosquito bite. However, this does not prove or confirm that the patient has been infected. If infected, other symptoms will occur during the first month. For example, the patient will develop the characteristic rash, erythema migrans, within 3 days to a month after the tick bite. The rash is easily recognizable since it is clear in the middle and looks like a bull’s-eye. The rash will slowly spread and can grow up to 12 inches wide. It doesn’t usually scratch or hurt but it can feel hot to the touch.
In addition to the rash, patients in the initial stages of Lyme disease can experience:
If no treatment is started during the first month of Lyme disease, the erythema migrans rash can spread to other parts of the body. Patients can also experience swelling and joint pain, especially in the knees. Neurological problems can also occur. Patients can develop meningitis, where the membranes surrounding the brain become inflamed, which can cause weakness or numbness in the limbs, temporary paralysis on one side of the face, and impaired muscle movement. Although these symptoms are rare, some patients can suffer from severe fatigue, eye inflammation, heart problems and liver inflammation.
If you suspect you have been infected with Lyme disease, you should schedule an appointment with Doctor Roya right away. She will make an inventory and assessment of the symptoms you are experiencing. She will also want to know about your medical history and whether or not you have been exposed to tick-infested areas. Two lab tests are usually prescribed to confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
The ELISA test detects antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi. While this test is the most widely used to detect Lyme disease, it is not 100% reliable since it is known to produce false-positive results. Therefore, diagnosis cannot be solely based on this test alone. If the patient presents the typical Lyme disease rash, that may be enough to diagnose Lyme disease, especially if the patient lives or has been in an area at risk.
If the doctor does prescribe an ELISA test and it is positive, the diagnosis of it disease will be confirmed through the western blot test. This test also confirms the presence of antibodies to several proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi.
In the eventuality that Lyme disease in indeed diagnosed in the patient, the treatment consists in the administration of antibiotics. The sooner the treatment begins, the more complete the recovery will be.
If Lyme disease is diagnosed in its initial stages, the doctor will usually prescribe a standard treatment of oral antibiotics (doxycycline, cefuroxime, or amoxicillin). The cost per prescription for these antibiotics is generally around $55. In most cases, it can be cured after 14 to 21 days of treatment.
If the disease has moved to the central nervous system, intravenous antibiotics may be needed. This treatment is highly effective, but recovery may take longer. It can also cause possible side effects such as diarrhea, a low white blood cell count, infections due to other antibiotic-resistant organisms.
Some symptoms such as fatigue and muscle aches persist after treatment. Unfortunately, the reason behind this is unknown. While antibiotics are the only proven remedy to treat Lyme disease, some patients also turn to alternative medicine for relief. However, these treatments have not been proven by the scientific community and can sometimes be harmful or even dangerous in the treatment of Lyme disease. Before using alternative medicine to relieve Lyme disease symptoms, you should always seek your doctor’s advice first.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above or if you think you may possibly have Lyme disease, the first thing to do is to see your family doctor. Don’t wait any longer and schedule an appointment with Doctor Roya today. As one of the top doctors in NY, Doctor Roya is fully trained in every aspect of traditional medicine and will know exactly what to do to keep you healthy and happy. Doctor Roya is able to help you with any health issue you may have.
In addition, Doctor Roya offers both in-office diagnostics and home visits. She accepts most major insurances and has 4 convenient centers in New York. Depending on what’s better for you, you can schedule an appointment in one of her offices in Long Island, Queens, or Manhattan. All are equipped with all the necessary lab supplies to run the needed tests to confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
If the diagnosis is confirmed, Doctor Roya may have to refer you to other specialists such as an infectious disease specialist or a rheumatologist. Her staff will make all the arrangements and appointments. No action is required on your part.
Pregnant women who get Lyme disease during pregnancy can transmit the disease to the fetus through the placenta. Pregnant women who believe they may have contracted Lyme disease should immediately make an appointment with Doctor Roya in one of her New York offices.
Although there used to be a Lyme disease vaccine available, it is now no longer on the market. The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to:
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