May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. According to the CDC over 300,000 people get newly infected with Lyme Disease each year. (See Press Release Here) It is the fastest spreading vector borne disease.
According to Ilads.org, (International Lyme and Associated Disease Society), 40% of people who get infected with Lyme disease will end up with long term health problems after being infected. Part of this problem is that Lyme diseaese is known as the “Great Imitator.” It mimics other diseases and can be misdiagnosed or lead to conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Disorder, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus , ALS, Parkinsons and many more. See Lyme Patient Misdiagnosis Poll Here)
Another issue with getting Lyme Disease diagnosed quickly is the lack of accurate testing. Most Lyme tests miss up to 50% according to the states on Ilads.org quick fact sheet. There are more sensitive labs for diagnosing Lyme disease and the other co infections, but most doctor offices and insurance companies go with the cheaper laboratory testing known as the Elisa and Western Blot.
Symptoms can often change with Lyme Disease. When first bitten, symptoms can be a “bullseye” rash and flu like symptoms that will disappear after a couple days. Less then half the people infected will get a rash. At this point many people or doctors assume it’s the flu and nothing further is done to treat early stage Lyme Disease.
As time goes by Borrelia, the Lyme bacteria, disseminates throughout your blood, tissues and organs. Your symptoms will become more serious, such as muscle pain and weakness, joint problems, and nerve pain. Neurological issues may appear such as memory issues, confusion, trouble speaking, dizziness, light headedness, shaking and internal tremors. You may also experience psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. Eventually Lyme can lead to cardiac issues, seizures, paralysis and even death.
Ticks can pass many infectoins such as Lyme disease, Bartonella, Babesia, Erlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and several other infections. Each of these infections may need a different treatment. Different infections can also be passed by different types of ticks. Research has dispelled the myth that Lyme can only be passed by deer ticks. You can see more transmission methods at: http://whatislyme.com/category/transmission-of-lyme/.
Each year in May, Lyme patients come together to help spread Lyme disease information to help the public become more knowledgable regarding tick borne infections. As part of the Worldwide Lyme Protest, which was started in 2013, over 25 countries will all protest on the same weekend, May 16-18, 2014, having multiple Lyme awareness events across the world. Some countries will hold online protest while others will have Lyme awareness rallies. Countries included are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. There will be over 25 rallies or awareness events in the United States. To see if there will be one in your state visit. http://wwldap2014.blogspot.com/
On the weekend of May 22 and 23rd there will be one huge protest in Arlington, Virginia in front of the IDSA Headquarters. Patients are asking for better treatments and for recognition of Chronic Lyme Disease. There is some misleading beliefs that Lyme Disease is only an acute infection and education and resaerch is slow in getting in the hands of medical professionals. Lyme patients are taking lessons from the AIDS movement and following their lead and taking it into their own hands to get the public and medical community up to date on the situation with Lyme Disease, as people all over the world are sufferering with lack of treatment options and insurance companies are refusing to pay for any treatments based on the IDSA Lyme treatment guidelines. For More Information visit: http://www.themaydayproject.org/
As Lyme Disease is spreading quickly across the world an international website has been made by Karen Smith from Australia and Lisa Hilton from United States, both Worldwide Lyme Protest coordinators. Each country page will list support groups and website information to help Lyme patients find the care and information they need. http://www.worldwidelymeassociation.com/
The best way to deal with Lyme Disease is to prevent it. If you find a tick embedded please follow these instructions.
CDC Press Release http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0819-lyme-disease.html
ILADS Quick Facts http://www.ilads.org/lyme/lyme-quickfacts.php
Whatislyme.com Misdiagnosis poll http://whatislyme.com/misdiagnosis-poll/
Lyme Symptoms http://whatislyme.com/category/symptoms/
Co Infections http://whatislyme.com/co-infections/
Worldwide Lyme Protest http://worldwidelymediseaseprotest.blogspot.com/
US Worldwide Lyme Protest http://wwldap2014.blogspot.com/
The Mayday Project http://www.themaydayproject.org/