Chronic or late disseminated Lyme disease is the third stage of this
multi-system, multi-stage illness. Various factors may contribute to
chronic Lyme disease. Not all people infected with the Lyme bacteria
develop the same symptoms, and a correct diagnosis is difficult.
Chronic Lyme disease can occur when people have not been properly
diagnosed or treated, or if they have received inadequate treatment. If
all of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease are not killed off, the
illness can move into a chronic stage, resulting in many other
conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, poor
concentration skills and more.
Patients who are diagnosed immediately after getting infected seem to
have the best chance of quick and complete recovery when they begin
antibiotic treatment immediately. Yet Lyme disease, which has been
nicknamed the Great Imitator, can mimic the symptoms of at least a
hundred other medical conditions. Unsuspecting patients and their
physicians simply may not know which tests to administer in the face of
so many possibilities. Lyme disease is so often misdiagnosed that if
and when the patient does eventually receive a correct diagnosis, their
condition may have already become chronic.
According to some medical experts, if the Lyme disease patient does not
receive antibiotics for a long enough period of time, the symptoms may
become chronic. Misdiagnoses can contribute to chronic Lyme disease
when doctors subscribe medications for diseases or conditions they
believe their patients have, but in fact they do not. This can have
disastrous results. For example, the use of corticosteroids will
replicate the spirochetes (bacteria) that cause Lyme disease.
Therefore, steroids are to be avoided where Lyme disease is suspected,
and they are contraindicated. Some Lyme-literate doctors believe that
steroid use while Lyme bacteria are present will cause chronic Lyme
disease. But, ignorant of the possibility of Lyme bacteria,
Lyme-illiterate MDs have mistakenly prescribed steroids to control
inflammation, with calamitous results for their patients.
Many people who have been labeled with another chronic disease such as
Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s and
others, may indeed have a condition that could be effectively treated
with antibiotics. Lyme bacteria may be the underlying cause of their
current condition, or at least a contributor. Many MDs are
Lyme-illiterate. This is unfortunate considering the alarming rise in
the number of proven Lyme disease diagnoses. Incurious doctors may
simply never suspect infection and therefore, never administer a test
for Lyme disease or one of the many co-infections with which it is
frequently associated. They may go on wrongly treating a misdiagnosed
patient for years. The patient, for their part, may continue being sick
with chronic Lyme disease, never understanding why the medicines they
consume aren’t making them any better.
Rampant misdiagnoses, unreliable tests and contentiousness between
medical experts regarding the correct treatment of Lyme disease has
created a milieu wherein patients are typically aware that they must
advocate for their own healing path. But how can Lyme disease patients
advocate the best treatment for themselves if they remain ignorant of
the underlying cause of their illness? And why are many medical experts
ignorant of, and uninformed about, this rapidly spreading disease?
Medical insurance constraints on long-term treatment of chronic Lyme
disease contribute to the problem. Many clinics, doctors and hospitals
are heavily lobbied by wealthy insurance companies who refuse to
acknowledge the evidence put forth by Lyme-literate experts that
long-term care is necessary for treating chronic Lyme successfully.
Many MDs simply adhere to the stringent protocol of this damaging
disease posited by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Typical CDC protocol followed by many uninformed, Lyme-illiterate MDs
calls for the administration of a 30 day course of antibiotics, and
assumes that the bacteria will be killed off and the patient recovered
by the end of the course. In some cases this is probably sufficient.
But given the extremely complicated nature of a correct diagnosis, the
varied symptoms of Lyme disease patients, and the confusion of MDs over
how best to treat Lyme, it’s little wonder that in most
cases, 30 days of antibiotic treatment does not cure the patient. In
fact, according to one line of Lyme expert thought, this course of
treatment is to blame for the disease moving into a chronic stage.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the
care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to
be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE
PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health
provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you
may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2005 Suzanne Arthur. All rights
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