Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochete, or tightly coiled bacterium that looks like a tiny spring under a microscope. Spirochetes are very simple, slow-replicating bacteria that require a mammalian or avian host to survive.
Because Borrelia replicates so slowly, and they don’t reach high numbers, they do not show up easily in a blood test.
Did you know...Fewer than 50% of people infected get the bull’s eye rash. Some develop flu-like symptoms a week or so after becoming infected, however, many people are asymptomatic but can develop Lyme symptoms months, years or decades later.
The most common symptoms include fatigue, neck stiffness or pain, jaw discomfort, muscle pain, joint aches like arthritis- typically in the knees, swollen glands, memory loss, cognitive confusion, vision problems, digestive issues, headaches, and fainting.
Lyme is commonly diagnosed with co-infections: Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Q Fever, Powassan.
Lyme is called the great imitator; looking like many other health problems (Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Bells Palsy, ADD, MS, and Lupus).
The medical community is at odds over the diagnosis and treatment guidelines. Health insurance often doesn’t cover the treatment for Chronic Lyme disease making treatment very difficult.
The standard and most commonly prescribed for diagnosing Lyme test is the ELISA test. This test, often not sensitive enough to detect Lyme, can produce a false negative. The more sensitive test is called the IgG and IgM Western Blots test. The preferred testing lab is IGeneX Lab in Palo Alto.