Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment in Fort Myers, FL
Lyme disease develops when the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria is transmitted by the bite of a deer tick and spreads throughout the body. Proper diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential in preventing serious complications of Lyme disease. Several weeks of antibiotic treatment in the early stages of Lyme disease can result in complete, rapid recovery for most patients. However, in some cases, symptoms persist in spite of treatment—either because the window of time has elapsed for early treatment or because the patient simply did not respond to antibiotic treatment.
Cases of Lyme disease that do not respond to antibiotic treatment are referred to in Western medicine as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. If the disease is not diagnosed or treated early, spirochetes can spread into different parts of the body and remain dormant, with symptoms not emerging until days, months or years later. When Lyme disease persists for longer than six months—whether undiagnosed or post-treatment—it is commonly referred to as chronic Lyme disease and can be difficult to treat.
As one of the most misdiagnosed and improperly treated chronic health conditions, chronic Lyme disease can debilitate you physically and emotionally. If you have prolonged symptoms relating to Lyme disease, meet with an integrative healthcare provider who can bring about sustained relief. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare clinic in Fort Myers that specializes in chronic Lyme disease treatment, call (239) 425-2900 or contact Dr. Doreen DeStefano online.
Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms
In the first 30 days after the infecting tick bite, the telling symptom of Lyme disease is the Erythema migrans (EM) rash, which begins at the site of the bite and expands up to 12 inches, creating somewhat of a "bullseye" appearance. It is seldom painful or itchy, but may feel warm to the touch. It can appear on any area of the body; however, not all people who have been infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria experience this rash, which then often results in a delay in treatment.
Other early symptoms often present flulike and may include:
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Over time, untreated or ineffectively treated Lyme disease can cause an inflammatory response within your body and profoundly impact the healthy function of your immune system. Chronic Lyme disease symptoms that may develop days, weeks and months into the infection include:
- Shortness of breath
- Neck stiffness
- Sleep impairment
- Severe recurrent headaches
- Nerve pain
- Short-term memory loss
- EM rashes on other parts of the body
- Arthritis symptoms with severe joint pain and swelling of large joints, particularly the knees
- Facial palsy
- Chronic pain, intermittent or constant, in bones, joints, tendons and muscles
- Irregular heart beat
- Numbness, tingling or shooting pain in hands and feet
- Brain fog and even severe cognitive impairment
Some studies suggest chronic Lyme disease symptoms in women more often seem to continue post-treatment. Chronic Lyme disease is a more common diagnosis among women than men. Whether there is a higher incidence of chronic Lyme among women, or whether they are being misdiagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, is the question. The fact is, misdiagnosis is common since women present similar symptoms when they actually suffer from an autoimmune disease. It may be instead that women with chronic symptoms of Lyme Disease are suffering from a severe immune response brought on by the illness. Understanding the disease's sometimes catastrophic and chronic impact in women's bodies is an ongoing subject for study.
Diagnosing Chronic Lyme Disease and Lyme Disease Test
Diagnosing chronic Lyme disease is no simple matter since similar symptoms are seen in other infectious or autoimmune diseases like Epstein Barr, chronic fatigue, lupus, fibromyalgia, arthritis and even depression.
A combination of the Western blot and ELISA tests—which measure specific antibodies (rather than bacteria) in the blood—are often recommended, but the test is flawed. For one thing, it takes time for antibodies to develop before the tests can register their presence and, for various other reasons, it is oftentimes inconclusive.
A direct microscopy, which is often performed by holistic health practitioners in combination with other physical exams and patient history to develop a diagnosis, is another option. Often, it is a comprehensive review of your symptoms in addition to the direct microscopy that can best identify chronic Lyme disease.
Options for Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment
Antibiotics are not a cure-all solution for Lyme disease; rather, a whole body approach to healing is necessary in both acute and chronic Lyme disease cases. Since chronic Lyme disease triggers a severe inflammatory response in your body, controlling inflammation is one of the first steps before your body can heal. Restoring your immune system so that it can best fight the disease at its root level is the central goal for your integrative medicine healthcare provider. Getting enough sleep, managing stress, balancing hormones and reducing exposure to mold, parasites and toxic chemicals are all important considerations.
Dietary changes are key, including the consumption of anti-inflammatory and gut-healing foods (e.g., vegetables, grass fed meat, raw fermented dairy products, coconut, nuts and seeds, bone broth, etc.). Immune boosting foods like fresh fruits and vegetables (especially dark green leafy greens and colorful low-glycemic berries) are high in antioxidants and nutrients. Fermented probiotic-rich foods like kefir, amasai, raw goat's milk yogurt, unpasteurized sauerkraut or beet kvass have been shown to reduce the progression of infectious disease.
Addressing the chronic pain which is common to sufferers of chronic Lyme disease—while the disease is being combatted—can also involve alternatives to toxic, addictive pain medications. Some chronic pain treatments range from the use of frankincense essential oil, which contains the anti-inflammatory boswellia, to turmeric supplements and balms.
Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, along with viruses and parasites that may develop in chronic Lyme disease, can attack healthy cells. Certain supplements have been shown helpful in restoring cellular health and restoring immune function, including vitamin D, CoQ10, medicinal mushrooms, B-complex vitamins (especially folic acid, B6 and B12), omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, turmeric and supplemental probiotics. Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha can be used to balance hormones, including stress hormones. Antibacterial, antiviral essential oils like cinnamon and oregano can fight bad bacteria without the negative effects of antibiotics. Herbs like garlic, rhodiola, cat's claw and eleuthero root extract can also be helpful. For a complete list of foods, supplements, herbs and essential oils that can be used to combat chronic Lyme disease, consult an integrative medicine specialist.
If you suspect you have chronic Lyme disease or if you have been diagnosed but traditional medicine approaches have not worked for you, request more information about testing, diagnosis and integrative medicine treatment options today. Call (239) 425-2900 or contact Dr. Doreen DeStefano online.
Root Causes Holistic Health & Medicine
Address12734 Kenwood Ln
Fort Myers, FL 33907
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm