Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is primarily transmitted to humans through infected Ixodes ticks.
These ticks are known as deer ticks on the East Coast and black-legged ticks on the West Coast. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. However, because of the difficulty in diagnosing Lyme disease, medical experts believe the actual number of cases is much higher.
Lyme is often called “The Great Imitator” because the symptoms often mimic those of other conditions. As a result, patients are frequently misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and even psychiatric illnesses. Such has been the case for many people who have come to our office, complaining of diverse lingering symptoms, including migratory joint pain, fatigue, forgetfulness, mood swings, and sensory abnormality.
When identified early, many cases of Lyme disease respond well to short-term antibiotic therapy and don’t recur. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis may allow the infection to progress to a later, more entrenched phase that is harder to treat. In working with patients who have advanced Lyme, we have identified several natural therapies that provide relief when combined with antibiotic treatment.
Early symptoms of Lyme disease resemble the flu and include the following:
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
Some patients experience facial drooping, known as Bell’s palsy, or a bull’s-eye-shaped rash, known as Erythema migrans (EM).
Advanced stages of the disease may result in the following symptoms:
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and inflammation
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Loss of short-term memory
- Loss of motor function
- Nerve pain
- Severe headaches
Lyme disease is caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burdorferi (Bb) and is typically transmitted through the bite of infected ticks. Deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are the primary carriers in the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, and North Central United States, while the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) is the main carrier on the West Coast.
After a Lyme-infected tick attaches to a human, the time of Bb transmission range from 12 to 72 hours. However, there are documented cases of shorter transmission periods. Pregnant women may also transmit the bacteria to fetuses.
Because the microbiome plays such a critical role in immune system function, we start by testing for bacterial overgrowth and inflammation. Then, we treat the findings accordingly with diet, targeted herbs, and other supplements. In addition, we use autonomic response testing to understand how the body responds to biochemical and energetic signatures, which allows us to detect yeast and parasites that are frequently missed in stool tests. We also perform the Western Blot test and use Metabolic 360 and IGeneX testing.
In addition, Lyme researchers and clinicians have observed an association between Lyme infection and hypothyroidism. Our Lyme disease doctor in NYC, uses the TRH Stimulation Test to evaluate patients for low thyroid. When the TRH test indicates hypothyroidism, we treat Lyme patients with natural thyroid hormones, which have proven effective in managing fatigue, muscle and joint pain, “brain fog,” and some neuropsychiatric issues.
ART + SCIENCE = DIAGNOSIS
At Kellman Center, we blend art and science by examining all of the body’s systems and how they interact, including the gut, the brain, and inflammatory markers. By looking at their effects on other body systems and on biomarkers, we can see the downstream effects that are often missed by conventional testing.
We look deeper to diagnose each person as an individual, instead of relying on routine tests that identify conditions based on values determined by the population range. We get to know every patient; we recognize that the longer a problem persists, the less likely that a blood test will reveal it.
Short-term antibiotic therapy usually works well for early-stage Lyme. When Lyme symptoms persist or recur, we combine antibiotics with a variety of natural treatments that include the following:
- Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC)
- Cat’s Claw
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Immunological modulation with natural compounds
- Olive leaf extract
- Prebiotics and probiotics
- Ultraviolet blood irradiation (UVBI)