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Lyme Disease Message Board

Lyme Disease Board Index

Hi rjbucknell, welcome to the board!

As was stated, no Lyme test is completely reliable and results can vary by lab. From what I understand, the ELISA or titer is the least reliable and the one most doctors run first. It is important to be tested by a Lyme reputable lab such as IgeneX in Palo Alto, CA. I sugguest asking your doctor to run the Western Blot test from IgeneX. It may be more expensive, but it is worth it.

The CDC recommends having the Western Blot done only if the ELISA is positive, but the problem is many people who have Lyme have a negative ELISA. The CDC also requires a large number of bands to show on the Western Blot for it to be considered positive. Many people who have Lyme do not get this many bands. Lyme doctors often focus on which bands are present. Some are specific for Lyme. I suggest that you get copies of all your test results. If you post them here, we can help you interpret them.

Besides Lyme, ticks can transmit several co-infections including Babesiosis, Ehrlihciosis (HME & HGE), Bartonella, and Mycoplamsa. Many people who have Lyme are co-infected. It is important to be tested for these also. It is also important to see a knowledgable doctor. Many doctors do not understand Lyme and treat with outdated protocols. If you post where you are located, I will tell you of the closest knowledgable doctor to you that I know of.

Lyme disease is a multi-system bacterial infection caused from the bite of an infected tick. It can cause many seemingly-unrelated symptoms and can affect people differently. It is treated with high-dose antibiotics. Below is a symptom list. Someone with Lyme can have any combination of symptoms.

[COLOR=Green]Unexplained fevers, sweats, chills, or flushing
Unexplained weight change--loss or gain
Fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina
Unexplained hair loss
Swollen glands
Sore throat
Testicular pain/pelvic pain
Unexplained menstrual irregularity
Unexplained milk production: breast pain
Irritable bladder or bladder dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction or loss of libido
Upset stomach
Change in bowel function-constipation, diarrhea
Chest pain or rib soreness
Shortness of breath, cough
Heart palpitations, pulse skips, heart block
Any history of a heart murmur or valve prolapse?
Joint pain or swelling
Stiffness of the joints, neck, or back
Muscle pain or cramps
Twitching of the face or other muscles
Neck creeks and cracks, neck stiffness, neck pain
Tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, shooting pains
Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
Eyes/Vision: double, blurry, increased floaters, light sensitivity
Ears/Hearing: buzzing, ringing, ear pain, sound sensitivity
lncreased motion sickness, vertigo, poor balance
Lightheadedness, wooziness
Confusion, difficulty in thinking
Difficulty with concentration, reading
Forgetfulness, poor short term memory
Disorientation: getting lost, going to wrong places
Difficulty with speech or writing
Mood swings, irritability, [COLOR=Green]depression[/COLOR]
Disturbed sleep-too much, too little, early awakening
Exaggerated symptoms or worse hangover from alcohol[/COLOR]

Ticks can also transmit several serious co-infections:

[COLOR=Green]--Babesiosis is similar to malaria. It is caused by a protozoa that invades, infects and kills the red blood cells. Symptoms include chills, sweats, fatigue, headache, weakness, muscle aches and pains, dizziness and heart palpitations.

--Ehrlichiosis is an infection caused by a rickettsiae (a bacterial parasite) that invades and infects the white blood cells. There are two types of Ehrlichiosis--HME and HGE. Symptoms include fever, malaise, [COLOR=Green]headaches[/COLOR], chills, sweating, severe muscle aches and pains, nonproductive cough, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

--Bartonella is also known as cat scratch fever and has recently been attributed to tick transmission. Symptoms may include lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, headache, encephalopathy, somnolence, flu-like malaise, weight loss, sore throat, and a papular or angiomatous rash. In acute cases, there can be hemolysis with anemia, high fever, weakened immune response, jaundice, abnormal liver enzymes, and myalgias. Endocarditis and myocarditis have been reported. [/COLOR]

Treatment can be difficult if you have been sick for some time. It is normal to feel worse before feeling better. Often people getting treated for Lyme disease experience the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction (herx). When the antibiotics kill the bacteria, toxins are released making them feel sicker. It can cause an intensification of symptoms or new symptoms. It can be scary when it happens but it is a good sign the antibiotics are working. Although the reaction can vary, many people experience it at the beginning of treatment and every three to four weeks. As treatment progresses, these reactions decrease in intensity.

I know it all sounds very overwhelming. If you have Lyme, the sooner you get treated the better. Just remember that good help is available and you are not alone.

Hang in there. Keep us posted on your progress okay?

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