Lyme disease is a serious and potentially debilitating bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 20,000-30,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the US.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause many symptoms that affect physical and mental health, including fatigue, joint pain, memory loss, and depression. Thankfully, several treatments are available to help manage Lyme disease symptoms.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by infected ticks. Symptoms may begin to appear 3-30 days after a person has been bitten by an infected tick and can include the following:
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, chills, muscle aches and pains, and joint swelling
- Bull’s eye rash (appearing 3 days to 1 month after tick bite)
- Shooting pains in the limbs known as Bannwarth Syndrome
- Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis due to nerve inflammation)
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems speaking
The Risks of Untreated Lyme Disease
If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious and long-term health problems. Long-term effects of the infection may include:
- Chronic Joint Inflammation (Lyme arthritis)-This is caused by the bacteria spreading to the joints and tissues, leading to inflammation.
- Nervous system disorders such as cognitive impairment, memory loss, and sleep disturbances
- In severe cases, Lyme disease can cause heart problems and even death.
Treatments for Lyme Disease
The good news is that Lyme disease is treatable. When detected early, Lyme disease can be successfully treated with the following:
The most common treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on how long you’ve had the infection and any other medical issues you may have. Generally speaking, oral antibiotics are prescribed in the early stages of infection. In contrast, intravenous antibiotics may be used in more severe cases or when oral antibiotics fail to work. It’s important to take all medications exactly as prescribed for the full course of treatment to ensure that the infection is completely eradicated.
Homeopathy is another popular alternative treatment for those with Lyme disease. Homeopathic remedies use tiny doses of natural substances that stimulate your body’s healing abilities rather than treating individual symptoms directly. Homeopathy has been used successfully to reduce swelling and improve energy levels. Still, it is best used alongside other treatments, such as antibiotics or herbal remedies, for maximum effect.
Hyperthermia for Lyme disease is a newer treatment option that involves exposing the body to hyperthermic (elevated) temperatures to kill off the infection-causing bacteria. This treatment is thought to be beneficial because it can reach areas of the body where antibiotics might not be able to penetrate, such as the brain and spinal cord. In addition, hyperthermia can also help to reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health.
Other Forms of Treatment
Traditional treatments could also be used to control Lyme disease symptoms. These are also used for other chronic illnesses. Here are the options that you can consider:
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting very thin needles into specific points on your body to restore balance and energy flow throughout your system. Studies have shown that acupuncture can relieve chronic pain associated with Lyme disease and improve overall mental clarity and focus. However, results will vary from person to person depending on individual factors such as age and condition severity.
Many people with Lyme disease find relief from their symptoms through herbal remedies such as garlic, turmeric, and ginger. While these herbs are not known to kill Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria directly, they can help reduce inflammation and support your body’s overall health, improving your symptoms. Herbal remedies should only be taken under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, as some herbs may interact with certain medications or existing medical conditions.
Regular exercise is also an important part of managing Lyme disease symptoms. Exercise helps improve circulation, increase muscle strength and endurance, and reduce pain. Low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming can help you reach your fitness goals without putting too much strain on your joints. You don’t have to suffer from the symptoms of Lyme disease. If you think you have been infected, speak to your healthcare provider immediately to explore the various available treatments. Working with your doctor and actively managing your health can help you find relief from this serious infection.