A spirochete is a type of bacterium characterized by its unique corkscrew or spiral shape. This shape allows the spirochete to move effectively through various environments, including human tissues.

What Should You Know About Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infection caused by four species of the spirochete bacterium Borrelia: Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii are the leading causes in the United States. In contrast, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are more prevalent in Asia and Europe.

The bacterium is transmitted by a bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly called a "deer tick." From there, it travels through the bloodstream and then establishes in body tissue. Symptoms begin to appear within 7-14 days from the day of contact.

Brief History of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease has been present in America for thousands of years now. It is said that Reverend Dr. John Walker, a Scottish minister and natural historian, made the first detailed description of the disease in 1764. He wrote it while visiting the Island of Jura (Deer Island).

In the 1970s, several adults and children in Lyme, Connecticut, complained of symptoms of an unknown disease. Patient advocates conducted their research and found a favored group among patients: they were all bitten by a tick in Lyme, Connecticut.

But it was not only until the 1980s when the causative agent and vector of Lyme disease were discovered by Wilhelm "Willy" Burgdorfer. He was also studying Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever at the time he made the connection between ticks and spirochetes. Only then did people understand what lyme disease is.
The medical community named the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi in honor of him.

How Lyme Disease is Acquired

The leading cause of Lyme Disease in the United States is the Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease transmission is by the bite infected of ticks. In the north-central, northeastern, and mid-Atlantic part of the United States, it is spread by deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis). A different species of deer ticks (Ixodes pacificus) carries the disease to the Pacific Coast.

How do humans get the bacteria?

Deer ticks get the bacteria when they bite infected mammals. Humans acquire Lyme disease when an infected tick bites them. The bacterium, which often lies on the suckers, is accidentally introduced into the bloodstream when ticks take a blood meal.

Where can you find infected ticks?

These ticks thrive in wooded or grassy areas in warm weather. They do not jump or fly. Instead, they wait for a host to pass by and climb on. While waiting, they hold on the tips of leaves or grass by their rear legs.

Read More: Wood Tick vs. Deer Tick - Which Carries Lyme Disease?

Their front legs are outstretched so that they are ready to climb aboard the moment a host gets near them. Once on a host, they will find a spot to bite on. Most often, they attach themselves to concealed areas such as scalps, armpits, and groin. It usually takes at least 36 hours before the bacterium can be passed on to the host.

When do they drink blood?

A tick has three life stages: larval, nymphal, and adult. It takes two years to complete the lifecycle, which requires a blood meal before developing it to the next stage. Typically, the tick drinks blood for at least four days to complete each stage.

What animals do ticks infect?

Deers are the favorite host of ticks, but they also feed on rodents. Although cats and dogs can also contract Lyme disease, no evidence proves that they can transmit it to humans. However, they can accidentally transport infected ticks into living spaces.

When is transmission most prevalent?

Nymphs or immature ticks are the most common vectors. They are less than 2mm, which makes them hard to see. They are most active during summer but can also survive moderate to severe colds. Adult Ixodes ticks prefer cooler weather.

Why is it easy for the bacteria to get inside the human body?

Tick saliva contains substances that hinder the host's immune response, helping the Ixodes bacteria establish infection. The bacteria multiply outward from the dermis until they reach the bloodstream and deeper tissues. This is why skin rashes are the usual initial signs of Lyme disease. If left untreated, the bacteria could live in the body for years, even with the production of antibodies.

Why is Lyme Disease Hard to Diagnose?

The primary reason why Lyme disease is often left untreated despite the availability of medications and facilities is that it has similar signs and symptoms with other conditions. Fever, joint pain, and headaches may be attributed to a virus or a different bacterium.

Symptoms may be faint or in unnoticeable parts of the body.

In regions where Lyme disease is less prevalent, it is not factored in during the diagnostic process.

If the patient doesn't have a rash or doesn't remember being bitten by a tick, Lyme disease may not be considered.

The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can also carry other disease-causing bacteria, like Babesiosis. If bitten by a tick with multiple pathogenic species, co-infection can happen. This can make it tough to identify Lyme disease because other infections can overshadow it.

Why Is Lyme Disease Not Covered By Insurance?

Lyme disease won't only deprive you of the ability to perform normal activities. It can also harm your financial status because insurance companies don't cover the treatment for this disease.

Lyme disease is the most widespread vector-borne illness in the United States. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tabulated 42,743 cases.

Imagine how many millions of dollars would be lost to insurance companies if they have thousands of Lyme disease-stricken insurance holders? We have no true statement from the insurance industry of the US government on this, but plenty of theories aim to explain why.

As mentioned earlier, Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose. Often, complications are already present upon formal diagnosis. Even after it is treated, insurance companies may still have to pay for the treatment of the difficulties.

Two-week antibiotic treatment is not sufficient for all cases. This could mean long-term treatment, which is bad for the insurance business.

Lyme Disease Statistics

CDC received 42,743 reports of Lyme disease cases, both confirmed and probable. This number is 17% higher than that of 2016.
Listed below are the states with the most Lyme disease cases in 2017.

Number of Confirmed Cases per State
Connecticut - 1381
Maine - 1424
Maryland - 1194
Minnesota - 1408
New Jersey - 3629
New York - 3502
Pennsylvania - 9250
Virginia - 1041
Wisconsin - 1794

Lyme disease incidence is highest in the northeastern part of the country. But as of 2019, cases are rising in places where it used to be uncommon.

The most probable reason why this disease is most prevalent in this region is the weather. Spring comes early, and fall is longer in the Northeast, which gives deer ticks more time to feed and mature.

Experts suggest that climate change and migration cause the rise in Lyme disease cases in previously less affected areas. Read More: 10 States With Most Lyme Disease Cases.

Common Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The main symptoms of Lyme disease are not determined because they also define other ailments. But if you experience any of these following a tick bite or a holiday in a state where Lyme disease is prevalent, consult a doctor right away:

Lyme disease bull's eye rash

Lyme Disease Bulls Eye Rash

The Lyme Disease bull's eye rash is the most common symptom of Lyme disease, which occurs in 70-80% of infected individuals. The rash starts to appear within 3-30 days following a tick bite, seven days on average. It gradually expands and may reach up to 12 inches in diameter and form a "bull's eye." The rash may be warm to the touch. Rashes may also indicate fungal or viral infection and allergy. It can also be a response to a particular medication.

Fever, headache, and joint pain

These may be experienced days after the tick bite. Unfortunately, many other ailments are also characterized by these symptoms. Without a rash, infected individuals surmise that it's just flu.
Lyme disease and mold toxicity may co-occur, and one can obscure the other during diagnostic procedures.

Heart Palpitations

Increased heart rate happens when there is an infection because the body wants to speed up the transportation of antibodies toward the site of infection.
But palpitations can also manifest that the bacteria have entered the tissues of the heart. This is called "Lyme carditis," a life-threatening complication of Lyme disease.

Dizziness, fainting, and shortness of breath

Lyme disease treatment may not be provided immediately because these symptoms are also common indicators of a variety of health problems. These include anemia, hypoglycemia, hypotension, anxiety, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and heart problems.

How Dangerous is Lyme Disease

Neuro Lyme Disease and Complication if Left Untreated

The neurological effects of Lyme disease are more devastating and difficult to treat.
Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) may be mixed up with other neurological problems such as Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis; both are chronic and scary. LNB is often overlooked or unrecognized because of the small number of specialists and research on this condition.

Symptoms of LNB

LNB occurs in almost 15% of Lyme cases. It usually starts with back pain that radiates down the legs. This is followed by a tingling sensation, numbness, and weakness.

Lyme-infected individuals may also experience facial nerve palsy, where one side of the face is temporarily paralyzed. Most recover after a few weeks to months of treatment, but some may retain this symptom for the rest of their life.
If left untreated, LNB can lead to a total loss of motor and sensory nerve function.

How does the infection reach the brain?

It is purported that Lyme disease-causing bacteria cross the blood-brain barrier by slithering through the thin membrane or the trans-cellular passage.

Once in the brain, the localized immune response is activated, and immune cells flood the area. This increases the number of chemokines (signaling proteins that attract white blood cells), which promotes a more robust inflammatory response.

It only gets worse…
Brain infection may cause a misguided reaction, wherein the immune cells destroy healthy brain cells. This results in "brain fog," autonomic dysfunction, neuropathic pain, memory impairment, and psychiatric problems. Neurological Lyme disease recovery is more difficult at this point.

Chronic Lyme Disease and Their Complications If Left Untreated

Lyme Carditis

Lyme disease-causing bacteria may enter the tissues of the heart, causing severe inflammation that forms a blockade. This can cause chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and fainting.

This condition is called Lyme carditis. Left untreated, it could permanently damage the heart muscles, which can only be resolved with a permanent pacemaker.

Loss of Bone Density

Lyme arthritis usually appears long after the early signs of Lyme disease are gone. Painful and swollen joints characterize it. Chronic arthritis can decrease bone density.

Heart Attack and Stroke

Chronic Lyme disease means prolonged infection, which can damage the cells that make up the blood vessel linings. This increases the susceptibility of blood vessels to absorb cholesterol and build plaques. These plaques raise the chances of stroke and heart attack.

Kidney Failure

Chronic inflammation may arise from scarring within the kidneys. These scars may decrease kidney efficiency or lead to chronic kidney disease. Prolonged Lyme disease treatment may also hurt the kidneys.

Lyme Disease Treatment

Treatment should be sought immediately after diagnosis to prevent complications.

When Antibiotics Are Given

Early-stage Lyme infection is conventionally treated with antibiotics. The most common drug used for this is doxycycline, which is taken for ten days to 3 weeks. Cefuroxime and amoxicillin may also be prescribed for 2-3 weeks.

Ninety percent of Lyme disease cases are cured with antibiotics. If the aforementioned drugs are not effective, they are given other antibiotics, either orally or intravenously.

Treatment for late-stage Lyme infection is provided intravenously because the disease has already affected the central nervous system. The patient is usually put on intravenous therapy for 14-28 days. It is essential to know that potent antibiotics cause side effects such as mild diarrhea and decreased white blood cell populations.

Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Ten percent of individuals treated for Lyme disease still suffer some symptoms after the treatment. These include joint pain, confusion, and fatigue.

Lyme disease doctors call this "post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome," a condition that is hard to diagnose and is still to be understood.

They theorize that the body has formed a response against Lyme infection. And this response continues long after the infection is treated.

When All Else Fails…
Alternative treatment is available for people who still suffer the symptoms of Lyme disease and for those whose infection is not yet diagnosed. If conventional Lyme disease treatment, there are Lyme disease experts that use a different approach.

We have treated thousands of Lyme disease patients from over 25 countries across the globe.

At the Sponaugle Wellness Institute, we have a full understanding of Lyme disease, acquired from the extensive research of Dr. Rick Sponaugle and the Sponaugle Wellness team. Equipped with far-reaching knowledge on Lyme disease and advanced technology, we help Lyme patients reclaim their lives.

How do we do it?

We deal directly with the leading cause at its source, treating the symptoms along the way. This is done by creating a precise diagnosis and personalized treatment plans using PET scans.

We believe in a holistic approach because we know that Lyme disease is systemic and makes a person prone to co-infections. It's essential to stimulate the immune response in the brain so that Lyme spirochetes can be killed during the brain detox of Lyme neurotoxins.

Everything in One Roof

Diagnosis, treatment, and accommodation are available in our clinic just a few miles away from the beautiful beaches of Florida's gulf coast.

How to Avoid Catching Lyme Disease

Yes, the world already has ample stock of potent antibiotics. Plus, now you know it has us, the Sponaugle Wellness Institute. But it is still better to avoid Lyme infection.

You can do that by following these:

If you're traveling to moist and humid places, avoid wooded and grassy areas. Walk in the center of the trail and try not to get in contact with vegetation or brush.

  • Use insect repellents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These may contain DEET, IR3535, or picaridin.
  • Wear light-colored clothing if you're going outdoors to spot ticks easily.
  • After being outdoors, check yourself, your things, and your pets for ticks. Remove ticks with a tweezer, and make sure to kill it.
  • Observe for signs of symptoms within the first 3-30 days following the tick bite. Seek medical attention as soon as a rash appears. Headaches, joint pain, and fever are also early signs of Lyme infection.
  • Maintain your yard to eliminate possible tick sanctuaries.
  • Groom your pets regularly so that you're aware if they are hosting ticks. Take your pets to the veterinarian as soon as a tick is spotted.

Conclusion On Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a sly ailment that can lead to debilitating conditions and death. Never underestimate this disease because the infection can spread quickly, and before you know it: your life is not the same way anymore.

Find the best Lyme disease treatment centers near you as soon as the first symptom manifest. Schedule a checkup after traveling to a moist or humid location. Practice extra precautions if you live in areas where Lyme disease incidence is high.

Follow the treatment protocol given by the attending physician. If the infection is already gone, but you still suffer from the symptoms, consider making an appointment with us, the Lyme specialists from the Sponaugle Wellness Institute.

Medical Director at Sponaugle Wellness Institute | 1-877-737-1959 | Meet Dr. Sponaugle | + posts
Dr. Rick Sponaugle, MD, is a licensed medical doctor in Florida, integrative physician, and board-certified anesthesiologist. With an emphasis on Environmental Medicine, Dr. Sponaugle specializes in treating brain and neurological disorders derived from Mold Toxicity, Industrial Toxicity, Gut Toxicity, Neurological Lyme disease, and five additional stealth infections that attack the Brain and Neurological system of most patients. Our Medical Director, Rick Sponaugle, MD, is an integrative physician who attempts to prioritize treatment through quality forensic medicine. Performing an analysis of 400 numerical bio-markers in his initial consultation, Dr. Sponaugle's goal is to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your multiple symptoms.
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