10 Facts to Know During Lyme Disease Awareness Month
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Here are 10 facts you need to know about Lyme disease in order to spread awareness to others.
1. Lyme disease is most known for causing joint pain, swelling and fatigue. However, Lyme disease can affect more than just joints; it can affect every part of the body including the heart, brain, nervous system, immune system and so much more.
2. Lyme disease is now considered to be the fastest growing infectious disease in America. Lyme disease is an epidemic occurring in the United States. It has surpassed HIV/AIDS but has less awareness and funds.
3. Testing is unreliable. Blood tests to diagnose Lyme disease are only 30-50 percent accurate. Many false negatives are given to patients daily.
4. The classic bullseye rash is not as common as you believe. The bullseye rash people associate with Lyme disease occurs for less than 50 percent of patients.
5. Most patients go years before receiving a diagnosis. It usually takes at least a year to officially be diagnosed. It personally took me 17 years to be diagnosed with Lyme disease.
6. Lyme disease is known to imitate other diseases. Because of the spirochete bacteria, the bacteria can live anywhere in the body. Depending on where the bacteria is, it can imitate diseases such as MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome and more.
7. An early diagnosis is key to treatment. The best chance someone has for getting rid of Lyme disease for good is being treated immediately after a tick bite. Testing is unable to be done for six weeks after the bite which is why treatment should be started before testing. A diagnosis years later can cause someone to develop late stage neurological Lyme disease.
8. However, patients may continue to experience symptoms after treatment. Many patients will still have various symptoms after treating Lyme disease. They go on to develop chronic Lyme and post-treatment Lyme disease.
9. Lyme-literate doctors are few and far between. Many doctors do not believe in Lyme disease, especially late stage or chronic. The best chance for treatment is with a Lyme-literate medical doctor who bases their entire practice on studying and treating Lyme disease. However, many patient have to travel hours to find a doctor.
10. Many insurance companies do not pay for treatment. Like doctors, insurance companies do not always believe in Lyme disease. Many of the treatments can be considered experimental which insurance companies tend to not cover.
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Thinkstock photo via Schlegelfotos.