Lyme is more prevalent than you think.
I’m always on the lookout for articles about Lyme disease – and earlier this month an article in Time magazine on the upcoming tick season got my attention as it proclaimed that this year’s tick season might be the worst ever. The article goes on to talk about how climate change has made it easier for ticks to spread because milder winters allow for animals like rodents and small mammals to survive and “host” even more ticks. Plus, warmer weather means ticks can go further north into areas where ticks were not found historically, such as Canada.
So be warned – if you like to hike around wooded areas, have dogs or other pets that go outside, take necessary precautions. It means using chemicals, sometimes, like DEET, which I generally would not recommend, except it is the lesser of two evils. It is much better to expose yourself to DEET than Lyme disease. Especially since the ticks that transmit Lyme can be very tiny (it can be carried by the juvenile form of the tick, called the nymph, which is minuscule). The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation has an excellent article on all the types of ticks that can transmit Lyme (as well as other diseases), how to remove a tick safely, and what to do if you are bitten. In an ideal world, if a tick bites you, you immediately seek medical attention in case that tick carries Lyme or any other disease.
It is important, in my professional experience, because chronic Lyme disease is much more widespread than most people think. Why? Well first off, the disease, if not caught early on, is tricky to diagnose. It can look like a LOT of other medical conditions (including autoimmune and other neurological diseases).
The bacteria that causes the disease, Borrelia Burgdorferi, is a very smart bacteria. It’s very proficient at hiding from a human’s immune system, and so it is not always detected by the most common medical tests. If you are considering getting tested for Lyme disease, please read this article on what test to have – and seek out a Lyme literate medical doctor. The disease can look so different from person to person. Many physicians are not familiar with chronic Lyme disease, it goes undetected and untreated, and people get sicker and sicker – and very discouraged.
As an acupuncturist, I see a huge variety of patients. From the weekend warrior who has injured his knee, or the carpenter with shoulder or elbow pain, to the anxious woman unable to sleep well at night. And the patient who gets a sinus infection every one to three months has no energy, and medical doctors don’t know what to do to help prevent, rather they treat the symptoms in front of them. This person is a definite candidate for Lyme testing, as these are some of the hallmark signs: fatigue, persistent infection, no issues on routine bloodwork.
A part of my job that I take incredibly seriously is to listen to my patients and ask a lot of questions, some that have not been asked before. All of that information is to give me a complete picture of what’s going on with you. I’ve now seen enough patients with chronic Lyme disease to know when to recommend someone see a Lyme literate doctor for further testing.
If you suspect that you have Lyme disease, know that I have tools and treatments to give you even before you can get into that doctor’s office. Chinese medicine and acupuncture are profoundly effective at helping the body heal and bring it back into balance, and can work with the mildest to the most severe disease conditions.