Could it be Lyme?
Are you dealing with health issues and seeing specialist after specialist with no answers? Or unable to tolerate medications that have been prescribed to address your health issues? Are you an enigma to your doctors? Do you suffer with physical as well as mental health issues?
Several years ago I began researching Lyme disease, as well as the other microbes that travel with the Lyme bacteria, called co-infections. Lyme disease is known to be transmitted by a tick bite, but there’s also some controversy surrounding whether it can be transmitted by mites, fleas, mosquitos, etc. Also controversial, it’s been alleged that Lyme disease can be transmitted sexually and from mother to child in the womb.
It’s so frustrating how controversial the existence of chronic Lyme disease is between the conventional medical establishment and functional medicine specialists. In conventional medicine, it’s rarely even thought of as something to test for that may be the underlying cause of symptoms and diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, mental health disorders, and neuropathies. In addition, testing for Lyme is so unreliable that most people have negative test results and are assured that they don’t have Lyme, and are subjected to taking numerous prescription medications to band-aid their many symptoms.
Reasons why testing is unreliable include:
1. Typical labs such as Quest and LabCorp test for only one strain of Borrelia (the bacteria that causes Lyme), namely Borrelia burgdorferi. The problem is that there are 300 strains of Borrelia worldwide!
2. Lyme can evade and suppress the immune system. The conventional tests for Lyme are looking for immune system reactions to the bacteria, so if Lyme has evaded and suppressed the immune system, it may not have mounted a response and, therefore, would show up negative on the test.
3. FYI, co-infection tests have the same issues. There are often numerous strains of microbes and the labs are only testing for one or a few.
Why the controversy?
1. As stated above, conventional testing is often negative, so the diseases are ignored as the test results are taken at face value.
2. Insurance companies are surely playing a role! Insurance companies want to avoid paying out anything they don’t have to, and if people are getting the diagnosis of Lyme, conventional doctors will want to prescribe IV antibiotics for possibly months at a time. That would be very costly for insurance companies. Why do you think insurance companies won’t pay for anything we functional specialists do? Ugh.
3. In depth training on this subject is not taught in medical school, at least not when I was there. There’s no consensus on how to treat it because the only guidelines revolve around acute Lyme diagnosis. Acute Lyme is diagnosed when a person with a known tick bite gets the typical bullseye rash and goes to doctor, and then gets prescribed antibiotics for a few weeks. Well, what about the patients who don’t recall a tick bite and never got the rash? This does happen. The size of the tick that transmits Lyme, by the way, is the size of a pin head and could easily be missed. So, these people with no known tick bite and no rash aren’t rushing to the doctor for antibiotics. Perhaps the immune system has been able to handle it for years and years, and then, e.g., 20 years later, due to diet and toxins and stressors, etc, it gets the upper hand and begins to manifest as symptoms and disease? Is that NOT plausible? Does it seem to you more plausible to just be told you have a disease without any reason and are just medicated for it? If you are told you have a neuropathy, don’t you want to know why? Sure, it could be a vitamin or other nutrient deficiency, or related to an injury, or a consequence of diabetes. But you shouldn’t assume otherwise that it just may be genetic. I’m a detective and I will always continue to dig deeper until I find answers for my patients.
As I mentioned above, there’s NO consensus on how to treat suspected chronic Lyme (aka “post-Lyme syndrome”, according to the conventional medical establishment). Some doctors use multiple antibiotics for months at a time. Others try using only herbals, homeopathic remedies, supplements, and nutrition to treat the symptoms (and suspected microbes involved). Others are very aggressive with all the above, as well as with other modalities such as IV vitamin C, ozone, hyperbaric oxygen, energy medicine, colloidal silvers, and peptide therapy.
From all the research I’ve done over the years, I’ve determined that, while there is no consensus on how to treat, there IS a consensus on what must be addressed in order to recover:
1. Critter control—destroy bacteria, parasites, fungus, and viruses that have overrun the body.
2. Break up the biofilm. Biofilm is a protective layer of substances under which the microbial community hides and communicates with one another. Some biofilm disruptors include proteolytic enzymes (proteases), stevia, DMSO, curcumin, oregano oil, garlic, N-acetyl cysteine, and apple cider vinegar.
3. Address toxic burden, including heavy metals, mycotoxins, and environmental pollutants.
4. Address unresolved or ongoing emotional trauma, such as being abused as a child, or being stuck in a bad marriage.
5. Mitigate exposure to dangerous EMFs and dirty electricity in your environment, known as electropollution. For example, turn wi-fi off in your house at bedtime. Put your phone in airplane mode when not using it. I read an article that mentioned that molds increase mycotoxin production 600-fold when exposed to EMF. If you are sensitive to EMFs, it may be because you have mold in your system.
Of course there are other aspects that are foundational to achieving and maintaining good health, such as addressing gut health, nutrition, and hormone imbalance. When you do this, as well as address the above 5 things, that could certainly go a long way with improving whatever ails a person, whether there’s a firm diagnosis or not! Stop suffering and get well HERE!
Horowitz Lyme-MSIDS Questionnaire
The Horowitz Lyme-MSIDS Questionnaire is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician or other medical professional. You should consult a medical professional in matters relating to health, and individuals are solely responsible for their own health care decisions regarding the use of this questionnaire. It is intended for informational purposes only and not for self-treatment or diagnosis.
If you would rather complete a printed copy, you can download here.
If you scored 46 or more, you have a high probability of a tick-borne disorder and should see a
health- care provider for further evaluation.
If you scored between 21 and 45, you possibly have a tick-borne disorder and should see a health-care provider for further evaluation.
If you scored under 21, you are not likely to have a tick-borne disorder.
Interpreting the Results:
We see a high frequency of Section 1 symptoms in our patients, including fatigue, joint and muscle pain that often migrates, sleep disorders, as well as memory and concentration problems, and a high frequency of Section 3 symptoms, especially neuropathic pain that comes and goes and migrates (tingling, numbness, burning, etc.). These form a cluster of presenting symptoms that are characteristic of those with a high probability of having Lyme-MSIDS.
In one recent study conducted in our office of 100 consecutive patients, we found that more than 25 percent reported that the following symptoms were present most or all of the time in the month preceding their office visit. Many of these patients reported that these symptoms affected their quality of life: 71 percent reported that their physical health was not good and 47 percent reported that their mental health was not good on at least fifteen days in the previous month.
© 2014 Richard I. Horowitz, M.D.