lyme 101

Alright, friends. Let’s talk Lyme.

Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection that you get through a tick bite (or perhaps other blood-sucking insects). Some people develop a bullseye rash, which indicates the presence of infection. They are the lucky ones! The rest of us don’t know that we have it unless we actually see the poppy-seed size tick….OR until we are severely sick.

IMG_1748Lyme is a nasty bacteria that spreads through your blood stream to every cell of your body. The bacteria is a spiral shape, much like a screw, and literally twists itself in through your cell walls, making it extremely difficult to see in standard blood work, as well as extremely difficult to treat. Lyme rarely kills people. Rather, it is like a parasite that wants to suck as much life out of its host as it can without killing it. Pleasant, huh?

Lyme needs to be treated quickly in order to stop the disease from becoming chronic. If caught early, 30 days of antibiotics (such as Doxycycline) should be enough for the person to make a full recovery. Generally, it is thought that the disease disseminates to your whole body after 4-6 weeks. After that point, treatment becomes long, expensive, and often a life-long journey.

For these chronically sick people, symptoms progress slowly until they have dozens of daily trials. Lyme attacks 4 major systems: 1) your bones, joints, and muscles. 2) your digestive system. 3) your heart. 4) your brain. Oy vey. People with Lyme experience a great deal of physical pain and a host of debilitating symptoms (see this list). If you think that you or someone you know has Lyme Disease, please look for my next blog post entitled “So, you think you have Lyme Disease” for tips on how to move forward.

These are the basics. I’m purposefully breaking this into small chunks, so that this can be a step-by-step process. In the future, I’ll talk more about testing, how to find a doctor, treatment, insurance, great books to read, support groups, etc. Feel free to leave comments with questions or topic ideas.

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