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Lyme Disease: From Diagnosis To Living With It

Lyme Disease: From Diagnosis To Living With It

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Lyme Disease: From Diagnoses To Living With It

By: Your JNH Lifestylist

Over the past few years, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) annually by state health departments. The CDC notes that number does not reflect every case of Lyme disease that is diagnosed in the United States each year. Standard national surveillance is the only way that public health officials can track where a disease is occurring and with what frequency. Recent estimates using other methods suggest that approximately 300,000 people may get Lyme disease each year in the United States [1].


Jordan Mitchell (pictured to the right) had purchased our Ensi 1 person infrared sauna back in 2017 while initially battling Lyme disease. Her research and path to healing led her to investigate electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and its potential impact on cellular function, which is why she opted for the Ensi line of infrared saunas. Jordan is now in remission and on a quest to raise awareness on EMF's. Visit her blog to learn more:

https://beatemf.com/about/

We recently spoke with Jordan and are appreciative of her first-person account on her battle with Lyme disease:

Initial Symptoms

"I’ve been a medical 'anomaly' (doctors literally called me that) since I was about 6 years old when I was misdiagnosed with Junior Rheumatoid Arthritis. I grew up with unexplained migraines, heart palpitations, joint pain, hives that would appear at my joints every time I was stressed, etc. During the postpartum period following my third baby, my health crashed - debilitating fatigue, severe brain fog, stuttered speech, light and sound sensitivity, chronic nausea, severe anxiety, the list goes on."

Diagnosis

"I finally went to my local walk-in clinic after a month of straight nausea (I thought all the other symptoms were just “in my head” and “normal” for a tired mom of multiple little ones). They thought to test me for Lyme after learning I had multiple tick bites that summer. It was positive, but they assumed it was an acute infection and prescribed 1 month of Doxycycline. After that, the symptoms only got worse, so I sought out a Lyme-literate MD who conducted further testing and revealed I was already in the late stages of Chronic Lyme Disease. I probably contracted it at 6 years old when that junior arthritis diagnosis should have been a Lyme diagnosis."

A Bevy Of Treatments

"Antibiotics, herbal antibiotics, complete diet and a lifestyle overhaul (free of gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, and hydrogenated oils), too many herbs to count (Japanese knotweed, artemisinin, astragalus, etc), a parasite protocol involving anti-parasitic herbs, regular detox (saunas, enemas, detox baths, charcoal, castor oil packs on liver, etc)."

Remission

"How did I come into remission? Well, I came to the end of myself. I could no longer move forward. I was done chasing every new shiny thing that promised results. I gave it all to the Lord, asked Him to work His will in it, and told Him I couldn’t treat anymore unless He told me otherwise. Just weeks later, He led me to an herb called Cistus Incanus. You make a tea out of it. Within 3 months of drinking 3 cups per day, I was 90% better."

(After we had wrapped up this blog, Medical News Today released an article, “Lyme disease treatment: 2 herbal compounds may beat antibiotics” that corroborated with Jordan’s use of a herbal remedy.)

Ongoing Management

"Stress management is the number one way I manage my health now. That and nutrition. If I get too stressed or try to do too many things, I can crash. Even then, a crash used to leave me bedridden for weeks. Now, a good night’s sleep is all I need to recover and be back on my feet the next day.

"I currently lead what most people would call a normal life. I can think clearly, drive again, speak normally, have fun with my kids, and just generally enjoy life.

"I eat clean and supplement some critical nutrients like magnesium and whole food vitamin C. I also have to be proactive about keeping my stress levels low. I do that by regular infrared sauna use, Epsom salt baths, and a 'quiet' day to myself once a week. Occasionally, I’ll supplement with adaptogens."

Ensi Sauna And Health Management

I use my sauna weekly to ensure toxins don’t build up in my system. I’ve learned that as long as I am proactive about stress, lymph drainage, liver support, etc., I can avoid a crash. My infrared sauna and nutrient-dense whole foods help accomplish that.

About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is spread through the bite of a blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis or Ixodes pacificus) that is infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. In the United States, most infections occur in the following endemic areas:

  • Northeast and mid-Atlantic, from northeastern Virginia to Maine

  • North central states, mostly in Wisconsin and Minnesota

  • West Coast, particularly northern California

Cases are sometimes diagnosed and reported from an area where Lyme disease is not expected, but they are almost always travel-related.

Lyme Stages

There are three stages [4]:

1. Early Localized Disease

Symptoms may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage. Symptoms may include:

  • skin rash, which may or may not look like a bull’s eye
  • flu-like illness, including chills and fever
  • fatigue
  • headaches and a stiff neck
  • muscle soreness and joint pain
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • sore throat

2: Early Disseminated Lyme

Early disseminated Lyme may occur several weeks or months after the tick bite. Bacteria is now beginning to spread throughout the body. In addition to flu-like symptoms, this stage is often characterized by an increase in symptoms such as:

  • chills

  • fever

  • headaches

  • fatigue

  • pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs

  • vision changes

  • heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain

  • rash may appear on body

  • facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy)

3: Late Disseminated Lyme Disease

If Lyme disease isn’t promptly or effectively treated in the first two stages, late disseminated (post-treatment, chronic, or neurological) Lyme occurs weeks, months or even years after the tick bite. The Lyme bacteria has now spread throughout the body and many patients develop chronic arthritis as well as an increase in neurological and cardiac symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • arthritis in joints or near the point of infection

  • severe headaches or migraines

  • vertigo, dizziness

  • migrating pains that come and go in joints/tendons

  • stiff, aching neck

  • sleep disturbances, insomnia

  • disturbances in heart rhythm

  • mental fogginess, concentration issues

  • numbness in the arms, legs, hands or feet

  • problems following conversations and processing information

  • severe fatigue

Testing

The CDC currently recommends a two-step testing process for Lyme disease [2]. Both steps are required and can be done using the same blood sample. If this first step is negative, no further testing is recommended. If the first step is positive or indeterminate (sometimes called “equivocal”), the second step should be performed. The overall result is positive only when the first test is positive (or equivocal) and the second test is positive (or for some tests equivocal).

Key points to remember

  • Most Lyme disease tests are designed to detect antibodies made by the body in response to infection.

  • Antibodies can take several weeks to develop, so patients may test negative if infected only recently.

  • Antibodies normally persist in the blood for months or even years after the infection is gone; therefore, the test cannot be used to determine a cure.

  • Infection with other diseases, including some tick-borne diseases, or some viral, bacterial, or autoimmune diseases, can result in false positive test results.

  • Some tests give results for two types of antibody, IgM and IgG. Positive IgM results should be disregarded if the patient has been ill for more than 30 days

The two most common diagnostic tests for Lyme are the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the Western blot. Both of these blood tests measure the presence of antibodies that form in your body if you are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme [5].

According to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), the tests are not always reliable to make a definitive diagnosis of Lyme. Both the ELISA and Western Blot are indirect tests, since they measure an antibody’s response to the infection, not the infection itself. However, it can take weeks to generate enough antibodies to be detected by these tests. As a result, a blood test may give false negative results even if you are infected with Lyme

ELISA – This is the screening test used when Lyme disease is first suspected. It measures the levels of antibodies against Lyme bacteria. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, if the test proves negative for the antibodies, no further test is recommended. If the ELISA is positive or unclear, a second test is recommended to confirm the disease. However, the ELISA is falsely negative nearly 50% of the time. Sadly, many people are never tested beyond this point and are told they do not have Lyme disease when in fact they may be infected.

WESTERN BLOT – This test is run as a second stage to confirm a positive ELISA result. It also tests for antibodies; however it reports reactivity against a panel of 10 different proteins found on the Lyme bacteria. According to the CDC, 5 of the bands must be positive for an overall positive, reportable Western blot test result.

The Western Blot is generally considered the most reliable test currently available (although it is estimated to be only 80% accurate even at the best labs). Many doctors will not consider using this test unless the ELISA is positive, thus missing an important diagnostic tool [3].

Other Infrared Sauna Users Managing Lyme Disease

Kim-

"My husband bought me this for Christmas for my Lyme disease and it is absolutely amazing! I would recommend this sauna to anyone dealing with joint problems, anxiety or just needing some time to relax!"

Cynthia C. in Eastvale, CA-

"I’m very pleased with my Tosi 2 full spectrum infrared sauna and adding the chromotherapy light is just the icing on the cake! I feel so much better by the day! I sauna on the daily for 59 minutes! Best detox, best natural medicine for body aches and headaches... best medicine for my Lyme disease! I feel so much better overall! Everyone should sauna!"

Christy in Dallas, TX-

"I had mercury toxicity and Lyme disease. The sauna removed the mercury after 4 months of regular use 6 days a week. The skin is known as the third kidney, you can remove toxins and metals the easy way. I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto's, Chronic Fatigue, Adrenal Fatigue, chronic insomnia, hormone imbalance, to name a few. The sauna got rid of the metals and the toxins over time and I am SO THANKFUL for this company. I was disabled and on 12 medications. I am off of everything now and I went hiking this summer for 5 miles a day in the Rocky Mountain National Park with my family. Be patient, it works. But not overnight. I didn't get sick overnight; it took time to get all this junk out of my body."


Resources:

1. “Data and Surveillance.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD), 22 November 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/datasurveillance/index.html.

2. (1998). "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report." https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00038469.htm

3. “Updated CDC Recommendation for Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease .” 16 August 2019, Paul Mead, MD1; Jeannine Petersen, PhD1; Alison Hinckley, PhD, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6832a4.htm?s_cid=mm6832a4_w.

4. “Stages of Lyme Disease ,” Global Lyme Alliance, https://globallymealliance.org/about-lyme/diagnosis/stages/.

5. “Lyme Disease Testing” Global Lyme Alliance, https://globallymealliance.org/about-lyme/diagnosis/testing/.

The Benefits of Using Infrared Saunas to Fight Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is the most common tick-borne illness in North America, and it can easily be contracted by you or someone you love, especially if you live in a wooded or tall-grassy area. According to the CDC, about 30,000 people contract Lyme Disease every year. Early treatment typically involves antibiotics [1]. Yet, these pharmaceutical options are not always effective or covered by [...]

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