ADVERTISING: Advertorial — What is Lyme disease?
Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr.
| June 29, 2022 1:00 AM
Although Lyme is supposedly rare in North Idaho, it does occur. If you’re not aware of Lyme you need to be if you plan to spend time outdoors. Being from the east coast I have seen firsthand how debilitating this disease can be. The fact that it mimics other conditions can make it hard to diagnosis. With more and more people moving here and enjoying the outdoors you need to be aware.
Lyme disease is actually an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected tick. A tick must be attached to the skin for approximately 36 to 48 hours to transmit the infection. Many people with Lyme disease have no recollection of a tick bite.
There are actually three separate stages of Lyme disease.
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the infection is localized and hasn’t spread throughout the body. This stage is the easiest to cure.
Symptoms may include:
• Skin rash, which may or may not look like a bull’s eye
• Flu-like illness, including chills and fever
• Headache and stiff neck
• Muscle soreness and joint pain
• Swollen lymph nodes
• Sore throat
Stage 2: Lyme disease may occur weeks to months after the tick bite, and may include:
• Pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs
• Vision changes
• Heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain
• Rash may appear on body
• Facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy)
Stage 3: Or late Lyme disease can occur months or years after the infection. Have you noticed symptoms years after the bite? Symptoms may include:
• Arthritis in joints or near the point of infection
• Severe headaches or migraines
• Vertigo, dizziness
• Migrating pains that come and go in joints/tendons
• Stiff, aching neck
• Sleep disturbances, insomnia
• Disturbances in heart rhythm
• Mental fogginess, concentration issues
• Numbness in the arms, legs, hands or feet
• Problems following conversations and processing information
• Severe fatigue
Unfortunately, Lyme disease testing is faulty at best, as it can only detect antibodies against the infective agent, not the actual bacteria. The first three weeks after infection, the test only detects Lyme roughly 29 to 40 percent of the time. Once the Lyme spreads to the nervous system it’s 87 percent accurate. Which could be a little too late. Unfortunately this results in many patients either getting misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Then their Lyme disease progresses to a more complex and systemic stage making it more difficult to treat.
So whose at risk? If you spend time outdoors or, if your child or pet run in high grass or wooded areas. Your pet can bring a tick into the house, which then can affect a family member. Get in the habit of routinely checking yourself, your family, and your pets for ticks after an outing in the outdoors.
According to the CDC, Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are a serious health threat. The more people are aware of Lyme, the greater chance they’ll have of taking good preventative measures.
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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene. For more information, please contact us at 208-966-4425.