What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is the name given to the table created by a bacterium called borrelia burgdorferi, which is known to pass mostly with ticks (there is little data about the fact that it also passes through fleas and flies).
The reason why this disease is not known in our country is that borrelia burgdorferi bacteria is thought to pass only with a live bite called deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) and this tick is not common in our country.
In fact, scientific researches on the subject are so few that the frequency of Lyme disease in our country is expressed as 4-5% in some studies and in 15-20% in other studies. So there is no single idea for now.
Stages of Lyme disease
There are several important details in the Lyme disease picture. The most important of these details is that the disease is examined in several different periods. These periods are early local disease, early widespread disease, late disease and for some reason lyme syndrome after illness in our country.
Lyme syndrome after the disease refers to the period in which the symptoms continue to remain despite the treatment. Unfortunately, in some chronic and antibiotic resistant cases, complete treatment is not possible.
If Lyme disease is caught early, the success of treatment is very high. Unfortunately, if the disease has advanced late, our chances of success are reduced. For this reason, we should always examine Lyme and be able to make a fast and accurate diagnosis.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
I have to say that Lyme disease really deserves the nickname “imitator”. Because in many issues that we do not make sense in the clinic, he and his side infections may have an effect.
So exactly in which cases should we suspect Lyme disease caused by borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Here are the symptoms:
The most important symptom is a scar called erythema migrans, which occurs in about half of patients in the early stages. This gives a very typical “point target – bull’s eye” view.
Findings mixed with rheumatism caused by swelling and redness of the joint called arthritis in joint pain and in advanced cases,
Chronic fatigue (serious and affecting quality of life),
Mental problems (especially depression) and personality change,
MS (in fact, Lyme Multiple does not cause sclerosis, MS, only mimics MS disease),
Nerve damage (temporary paralysis, numbness in various areas, irreversible paralysis in advanced cases) and visual impairment,
Disturbance in the heart rhythm (called arrhythmia),
Swelling in the lymph nodes,
Hormonal disorders (especially diseases of the pituitary gland)
Therefore, if you have any of the above symptoms, if the cause of your illness cannot be found, you should definitely keep the borrelia burgdorferi infection, Lyme disease, in one corner of your mind.
Lyme disease diagnosis and tests
Okay, everything is great. We know the symptoms of the disease, then let us immediately diagnose and proceed to treatment. Why are we waiting?
Sorry, here is the complicated face of Lyme disease. The reason is this:
We use serological tests to recognize infectious diseases such as Lyme in the clinic.
Serological tests are roughly based on detecting antibodies, which are your body’s defense cells against related bacteria, viruses or parasites.
But Lyme disease is very effectively suppressing the immune system. As a result, the body cannot produce enough defensive cells against the bacterium borrelia burgdorferi. For this reason, serological tests in Lyme disease are insufficient especially in chronic period.
So, in fact, suspecting Lyme disease in the clinic and using routine examinations can often cause the disease to go unnoticed.
So what are we gonna do?
First of all, we will investigate borrelia burgdorferi IgG and IgM tests with the elisa method. If it is positive, we will repeat borrelia burgdorferi IgG and IgM tests with western blot method to eliminate false positivity.
If the borrelia burgdorferi IgG, IgM (elisa) test we want first is negative, the separation starts. Because we can bend our neck and say “There is no Lyme disease” or if we believe we can start using advanced diagnostic tests.
We have several different diagnostic tests available.
The most important of these is the evaluation of the amount of small pieces of antibodies produced for Lyme by western blot method. In this way, even if there is no overall response, it becomes important for the diagnosis of the patient that some of the cell parts increase.
Another test that helps diagnosis is to look at CD8-CD57 + NK level. This value is an important data that the immune system is under pressure. Therefore, it is valuable in monitoring the disease and gaining meaning. If this value is below 60, we will meet an important criterion for Lyme.
In addition, this low value gives us an important tip that the side infections in Lyme disease may have been included in the picture.
Remember, CD8-CD57 + levels can drop in many situations. For this reason, you should not trust this value alone.
Another test method we use in the clinic is to measure the response of the cells against the borrelia burgdorferi structure. This type of examination, which is presented with different trade names (elispot, LTT…), can also play an important role in the diagnosis and follow-up of the disease.
In addition, although there are many methods such as searching for borrelia burgdorferi from the sample taken from the tissue used in the diagnosis of the disease, and antigen test in the urine, these pathways were found to have high error rate and low reliability in the studies.
When I finish the diagnosis of Lyme disease, I want to add this. The laboratory should never be the only guide in Lyme disease. Because while the problem is the difficulties in diagnosis, it will be “extreme goodwill-purity” to act with the result in a piece of paper instead of the patient’s condition for diagnosis.
Lyme disease treatment
We came to the treatment part, which is more complicated than the diagnosis of Lyme disease. Here, too, borrelia burgdorferi poses several difficulties for us.
The most important of these problems is that borrelia burgdorferi is found in both tissues and fluids such as blood and there are several different forms (L-spirochet- and cyst form) where it is located.
This prevents a single antibiotic from reaching all the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria in the body. Therefore, I use more than one antibiotic antibody depending on the mechanism of action.
I also roughly divide the antibiotics I use in the clinic into two. Oral “pill” antibiotics and intravenous / intramuscular antibiotics.
Combined antibiotic therapy, which is taken by mouth for 21-28 days in the early disease period, works, but intravenous antibiotics are often required during late and chronic diseases. Because antibiotics given intravenously do not break down / change through the liver and remain on the blood at a high level.
This high blood antibiotic level is very important for us for the success of the treatment in chronic cases.
We use more doxycycline in the treatment of early localized / common Lyme disease. Because the active substance of doxycycline is also useful in the treatment of side infections with Lyme disease. Also other options are amoxicillin, cefuroxime axetil.
In the treatment of late Lyme disease, more intramuscular benzathine G penicillin and intravenous cefotaxime can be used.
There are many different antibiotic options such as azithromycin, daptomycin and intravenous penicillin. I would like to state that I did not touch on all antibiotic options in this section.
In addition, metronidazole is very effective for the cyst form in Lyme disease. Treatment may not be successful, especially since the drug used uniformly in antibiotic treatment does not affect the cyst form. For this reason, an antibiotic effective on the cyst form should be added to the process in late cases.
These long-term antibiotic treatments (may last up to 6-12 weeks) can cause problems such as colitis, elevated liver enzyme, and impaired kidney function in individuals.
For this reason, the choice of antibiotics is one of the most difficult decisions of the physician in treatment. For some reason, it can be changed later in treatment.
Many people are afraid of the length of antibiotic use. Unfortunately, borrelia burgdorferi with a life cycle of about 4 weeks may need to go through several life cycles to clear up in chronic cases.
For this reason, we keep the treatment at least 4 weeks (28 days), in some cases we can extend the treatment up to 12-18 weeks.
Die-off effect and neurotoxin in Lyme disease
The only problem in bacteria is not treatment. Because the lifeless bacterial residues that appear with the treatment circulate uncontrolledly in the blood, creating inflammation, ie, an immune system response in the body.
This is called “The Jarisch – Herxheimer Reaction”, ie die-off effect. This reaction, which changes depending on the bacterial load in the patient’s body, reaches extreme dimensions and is life threatening in some cases.
In addition, borrelia burgdorferi creates a toxin that causes damage to the nervous system. This toxin occurs more especially during treatment and the person’s complaints worsen.
This neurotoxin may lie under one’s neurological and hormonal complaints. Because the toxin can occupy the hormone receptors in the pituitary gland in the brain and disrupt hormones.
Even this toxin can reach the vision center and cause vision, hearing and attention problems in people.
Here is a simple thing to do both to prevent the die-off effect and to avoid neurotoxin. Preventing reabsorption.
I know you are confused, the matter is simply this:
Toxins and bacteria residues are removed from your blood with the help of the liver. These harmful structures are then thrown into the gallbladder and then into the intestines.
If you allow these harmful substances to be absorbed from the intestines again, you will be poisoned again and again. For this reason, we use special binding agents. This varies depending on the presence of neurotoxin. Sometimes we prefer medical clay, sometimes activated charcoal, sometimes coleselevam.
Lyme disease and side infections
Another factor that complicates the treatment of individuals in Lyme disease is side infections. These are usually transmitted to the person with borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.
Side infections that complicate the treatment of the disease also cause the symptoms to become unrecognized and confused. The most common adverse infections,
Bartonella and the like,
Ehrlichia and anaplasmosis,
can be listed as. These side infections also force us in terms of diagnosis. There are no clear diagnostic tests, as they are not very common and do not easily cause infection in healthy people.
Nutrition and natural supports in Lyme disease
Antibiotics are not the only thing we trust in Lyme disease. Because strengthening the immune system means increasing our chances of carrying out a full treatment.
Here are my additional suggestions;
Do not consume tea, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes.
Sleep very well.
Avoid extreme sports, just practice light pace exercises.
Do not take simple sugar. Avoid dairy products and fruits with high glycemic index. Take complex and vegetable-based carbohydrates (starchy foods such as beets, radishes, sweet potatoes).
Do not consume grains and legumes that are allergens and increase inflammation.
Also, evaluate the following supplements with your doctor;
Probiotic during antibiotic therapy,
B complex (B12 and B6 must be)
Alpha lipoic acid,
Magnesium (preferably malate, citrate mixture),
Milk thistle (thistles).
When Borrelia burgdorferi and side infections become chronic, they pull a “biofilm” protective layer on them to protect themselves.
In order to eliminate this layer or pass the layer and reach better bacteria,
Myrrh oil can be preferred.
Experimental treatments for Lyme disease
Lyme disease is subject to many treatments, especially abroad. In some, we see promising developments. I would like to share these developments with you as they can be used routinely in the future.
But remember, treatments are all experimental! Therefore, it is necessary to establish a very good benefit / loss relationship and to decide individually.
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG),
Long-term 6-12 months intravenous chronic antibiotic treatment,
Among the methods tried now.
Lyme disease: Conclusion
In this annoying, complicated and chronic disease, we examined the treatment symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment sequence. But there is much more to talk about.
Therefore, if you suspect Lyme disease, never try the things written here by yourself. Be sure to act with a physician and monitor your illness.
You can be in constant despair. Never do this to yourself!
Because if you stop researching and trying for treatment, the winner will be the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.