With over 300,000 people infected with Lyme disease every year, there are a whole host of potential effects on your body including your immune system. Although this number is huge, Lyme disease often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Our functional medicine experts in Tulsa, OK, are here to help you begin your journey back to health.
So, what exactly is Lyme Disease?
In basic terms, Lyme Disease (borreliosis) is a bacterial infection typically transmitted through a tick bite, most commonly a bite from an infected black-legged deer tick (Ixodes ricinus). Once the tick bites you, it injects the bacteria into your bloodstream, and then it spreads throughout your body. You can also get Lyme Disease through sexual contact with a person who has it or from mother to baby.
What are the common symptoms of Lyme Disease?
There is a wide range of symptoms associated with Lyme Disease. There are two categories of Lyme disease patients, and they can have different symptoms. They are:
Acute Lyme Disease – This is when you first contract Lyme Disease. Typically, you will have a high fever, joint pain, lower back pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and feet. Other symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, and Bell’s Palsy.
Chronic Lyme Disease – This is when you have had Lyme Disease for weeks, months, or even years. Symptoms can include fatigue, wandering joint pain, sleep, thyroid, balance, and coordination issues. You may also have neurological symptoms such as brain fog, impaired memory, and trouble retrieving words and remembering names.
Lyme disease can be challenging to diagnose. It mimics many other illnesses such as the flu, headaches, muscle ache, and many other diverse symptoms making it difficult to diagnose and treat. Many people do not recall seeing a “bullseye” style rash that most doctors believe you get when bitten by an infected tick, leading to undiagnosed Lyme disease for many months or even years.
Why does Lyme Disease affect the immune system?
Lyme disease triggers autoimmune issues within the body and will begin to interfere with tissues such as the thyroid. Your immune system will start to attack your own body, causing various autoimmune symptoms such as inflammation. If left untreated, the disease may cause chronic inflammatory issues and autoimmune illness.
Conventional treatment for Lyme Disease
If you have been diagnosed with the disease by a conventional doctor, you will most likely be prescribed a short course of antibiotics. The problem here is that Lyme is a slow-growing organism and replicates only once per 16 days. Most antibiotics do not kill the bug itself but stop it from replicating. A three-week course of antibiotics is unlikely to help as slow replicating bacteria need antibiotics for a much more extended period. Another problem with antibiotics is that they can interfere with your gut health and cause issues like an overproduction of yeast, such as candida.
Conventional testing for Lyme
The conventional test is a 2-tier test. The most traditional method for testing is a Western blot and ELISA test. The biggest problem with these tests is that they aren’t sensitive, and they can miss up to 60% of early-stage Lyme disease. The likelihood of it picking up those with the disease is very low because the body can take weeks to develop the antibodies against Lyme disease.
The Functional Medicine Tulsa Approach to Lyme Disease
Instead of focusing on only antibiotics, the functional medicine way is to take a “whole system” approach that focuses on the underlying cause of the disease and the root issues to treat the complexities of the body’s symptoms.
Many herbs and supplements can significantly benefit Lyme disease healing, including cordyceps, reishi, and maitake mushrooms. These can kill harmful bacteria and contain vitamin D to boost your immune system. Other supplements that can be very effective are anti-inflammatory curcumin (found in Turmeric) and magnesium. Our functional medicine practitioners in Tulsa, OK, will provide each client with a personalized treatment plan to begin their road to health.
If you think you may have Lyme disease or have any of the symptoms discussed, book your complimentary phone consultation with us today.