The problem with chronic Lyme Disease; the NY Times explores.
Lyme disease is common during this time of the year, when all the deer are out. It is often missed and sometimes, the traditional test for Lyme may actually not be enough to diagnose the disease properly. After the diagnosis, as the diseases progresses and becomes chronic, there are many proposed treatments that may or may not work, with many being controversial.
The problem with Lyme is that it is a spirochete, which by its nature can penetrate the blood vessels and hides at times, creating difficulties for the immune system when it tries to attack it because it creates something called bio film, which hides the spirochetes. Furthermore, the traditional idea of three weeks of antibiotics does not always eradicate the disease and they are now finding other tick borne diseases that may cause the disease process the person is experiencing, which is why the standard Lyme test may not be enough.
The NY Times explores…
When Lyme Disease Lasts and LastsBy JANE E. BRODY Chronic Lyme disease is a highly controversial catch-all term for a host of long-lasting symptoms that may or may not stem from prior infection with the bacterium that causes acute Lyme disease. Often misdiagnosed and mistreated, chronic Lyme disease leaves thousands of people physically and mentally debilitated and without a medically established recourse.Mary Rasenberger, 51, a New York lawyer, experienced “a series of ailments going back 10 years.” She was finally given a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease last summer after having been told that she had multiple sclerosis.
Her long-term symptoms were “aching joints, headaches and indescribable fatigue” that made her miserable and unable to exercise. In the last few years, two additional symptoms developed: neuropathy in her limbs and face, and vision problems. In an interview, she said she “woke up every day feeling sick”; if she became overheated, she felt as if she had the flu.
Yet a test for Lyme disease came back negative. Desperate, she finally consulted a Lyme “specialist,” one of a number of doctors who treat patients with symptoms like Ms. Rasenberger’s with long-term antibiotics, despite the fact that such a regimen has shown no significant or lasting benefit in controlled clinical trials. These trials involved randomly assigning patients to the antibiotic Rocephin (often administered intravenously) or a placebo, with neither patients nor those evaluating their symptoms aware of who got what.
Still, after several months on antibiotics Ms. Rasenberger, like many similar patients, said she felt “completely healthy for the first time in years.” Each time she tries to stop the medication, her debilitating symptoms return