There is a great disparity of opinions in the medical community regarding Lyme disease – in diagnostic testing, type and length of treatment and in where it may occur in the US and how common it may be. Chronic fatigue, muscle and joint pain and inflammation, insomnia and mood problems are often due to some chronic infection.
The infective organism in Lyme disease, Borellia Burgdorferi, causes symptoms of muscle and joint pain, mood problems, memory problems and a wide variety of other symptoms, depending on the severity and the organs affected. It is one of few infections that can cause neurological symptoms. One form of Lyme – Morgellon’s _ causes skin lesions and crawling sensations. Because Borrelia Burgdorferi “BB”(the organism causing Lyme disease) is present in very small numbers, is often inaccessible in the nervous system and may change into different forms – it is often difficult to diagnose. It also seems to cause some damage to the immune system if the infection is longstanding. There is often a poor immune response which makes some forms of testing for “BB” insensitive – giving some false negative results.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists Lyme disease as a clinical diagnosis, which means that clinicians should make the decision whether and how to treat based on the whole patient presentation and all testing information, but not depend solely on getting a positive Lyme test result.
We at IHC strive to assist our patients with the difficult issues presented by Lyme disease. We generally use Dr. Burrascano’s guidelines for Lyme treatment (see ILADS website). We must consider any possible risk of Lyme treatment, all the treatment options, and also the risk of not treating the disease.
In some cases patients may have severe and chronic problems, which are consistent with Lyme disease, and they have not found any other effective treatment. In these cases, we may do an antibiotic trial of 1-2 months. Often this will clarify the diagnosis, and treatment may be continued if there is a positive response.