Lyme Disease: A Basic
Two weeks later I was back where I started. Each time I got sick it seemed to get worse. And each time more and more symptoms showed up. I got a urinary tract infection that went away for a week and then came back for a week, back and forth, no getting rid of it, despite massive doses of antibiotics. I slept 10 to 12 hours a day. After taking enough antibiotics to kill a small mammal steady and hard for 3 weeks, I was still sick and tired.
Within a couple of weeks, I began experiencing what people with Lyme call "brain fog," which is a collection of symptoms that involve difficulty concentrating, short term memory problems, focusing, etc. At the same time I also began having trouble focusing my vision. It became a real effort to keep my eyes focused on what I was reading. You know how you feel when you haven't had any sleep for a couple of days and you just can't get your eyes to focus anymore? I started feeling like that for a couple of days at a time, even though I'd been sleeping 12 hours a day.
I also started experiencing muscle twitching all over my body, and some muscular aches and joint pains. My legs would feel like jello.
Next came the hearing sensitivity. I work on the phone all day, and I started having to turn the volume on my phone way down because background noises and high pitched voices really started to grate on my nerves.
And I noticed trouble thinking clearly, and became frustrated easily. I used to enjoy reading very much, and spent most of my free time doing that (at least 2 hours every day). But I found myself constantly having to re-read things and eventually gave up on it. Short term memory became a problem, and I would "zone out" easily. I forgot things as soon as I was told them, and had to ask people to repeat things often.
I started having trouble with simple math problems. Like a math computation which requires two or three steps of simple arithmetic, such as adding a couple of numbers and them multiplying that by another number, and then dividing by something else. I'd get to the second or third step and forget what I was trying to figure out, or what the next step was, and I'd have to start over. Usually by the third try I would actually get it.
Lyme Disease Books:
|The Lyme Disease Solution||The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments||
The 2008 Lyme Disease
If you get bit by a tick, get yourself to a Lyme Disease doctor who will prescribe these high doses of antibiotics immediately (further down the page I will tell you how to find one). If you don't follow this advice, you may never get rid of Lyme.
I've heard more than one person say they went from doctor to doctor for 3 years or more (some have been through more than 50 doctors) and were told different variations of "its all in your head."
Some people have been on heavy antibiotics for more than five years, with little improvement. Two to three years seems to be the normal span of time that people are treated by an experienced Lyme doctor, and many of these people relapse later and have to go through it all over again.
This is not something that can wait a month or even a couple of weeks. The greatest success in treating these tick-borne diseases comes from catching them early. Once these diseases have spread throughout your body you are talking years of heavy doses of medication, if you can be cured at all.
These are very serious diseases. Many people with Lyme Disease have mistakenly been diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), lupus, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
If you, or anyone you know, believes they may have Lyme Disease, and your doctor diagnoses you with one of the above illnesses, get a second opinon from a doctor who specializes in the treatment of Lyme Disease. You see, there is little or nothing they can do for you if you have MS or Lou Gherig's disease or chronic fatigue syndrome. Nobody knows what causes these other diseases. Lyme Disease is treatable.
Above all, do not let your doctor treat you with steroids if you believe you may have Lyme. This will suppress your immune system and can cause irreparable damage to your central nervous system.
Lyme attacks your central nervous system, and causes paralysis, hearing loss and blindness in later stages. People are losing points off of their IQ (verified by tests) from the neurological effects of this disease. I was never a math whiz, but I could easily do algebra and geometry, and before I started treatment these things were a challenge.
If you have been tested, even if you are told your test is negative, ask to see the results and ask which bands, if any, showed up on the test. Your doctor will likely tell you that you tested negative even if your test shows that you have Lyme. The reason is that old CDC reporting guidelines state that you must have 5 bands to be positive. However, even one Lyme-specific band can prove you have Lyme.
If you want to know how to interpret these tests and what the different bands are, click here. I would also suggest you check here for additional information. For questions on what specific bands mean, the above two links often provide links to studies on them.
The short answer is that bands 14, 21, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 35, 37, 39, 47, 50, 83, 93 and 94 are specific to the Lyme spirochete, borrelia burgdorferi (Bb). The presence of bands 42 to 45 may indicate an Ehrlichia infection, click here for reference on this. There are other bands that may indicate a Bb infection, but because they could also be caused by other diseases they cannot be used as a screening tool, unless taken in context with other Bb specific bands.
If someone tells you that you need at least 3 or 5 of these bands to have Lyme, ask them why you would have any of these Lyme-specific bands if you had never had Lyme in your system. The 3 to 5 band criteria are based on outdated CDC guidelines, but many doctors who are not educated about the disease still use those outdated standards to make a diagnosis.
False positives come from non-specific bands that may resemble other diseases. Lyme-specific bands can only mean that Lyme antibodies were in the sample they tested. Ever hear of anyone who is sort of pregnant?
Bowen takes a different approach, and actually cultures (grows) the bacteria from your blood sample and photographs the bacteria themselves. They are a non-profit doing research and ask for a $215 tax deductible donation to conduct testing for Lyme, Babesia and Ehrlichia.
Your doctor can call Bowen and they will fax all of the necessary forms to your doctor's office.
Doctors who are experienced and knowledgeable in treating Lyme Disease (often referred to as Lyme Literate Medical Doctor or LLMD) do not base their diagnosis solely on the tests. In fact, these experienced Lyme doctors often make a diagnosis of Lyme Disease even in the face of negative tests. Their diagnosis is based on symptoms.
||In only 50% of the cases, a characteristic rash called erythema migrans develops in the "bullseye" shape. Flu-like symptoms include headache, sore throat, stiff neck, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, muscle pain and arthritis. Neurological symptoms including meningitis, numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in the extremities, Bell's palsy (facial paralysis) and muscle twitching. Swollen glands are also common.|
|Babesia||Fever, chills and sweating, weakness, weight loss, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, cough, shortness of breath, headache, neck and back stiffness. Also dark urine or blood in your urine. This disease is very similar to malaria, and drugs used to treat malaria are also used to treat Babesia. Don't be fooled if your symptoms go away, they will come back every few weeks, and they will get worse each time they do.|
|Bartonella||Fever, chills, headache and severe pain in the tibia. Symptoms may reappear every 5 days. Many people are asymptomatic.|
|Ehrlichia||Fever, chills, headache and muscle pain, gastrointestinal symptoms.|
|Brand Name||Generic Name||Dose||Description|
|These go by many brand names||1500mg to 2000mg for Tetracycline
300mg to 600mg for Doxycycline
200mg to 400mg for Minocycline
|The tetracycline family of antibiotics are used in treating many different kinds of bacterial infections. Tetracyclines are bacteristatic at low doses.
For many bacteria, whose life cycle is short and reproduce within a matter of minutes, low doses will cure them as the bacteria will die before they get the chance to reproduce. But Lyme Disease reproduces over a much longer time frame and will not be eliminated with bacteristatic doses.
Higher doses are needed to be bactericidal and to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB). Doxycycline is often the first choice in treatment as it will eliminate an Ehrlichiosis coinfection.
An important note is that any mineral supplements such as aluminum, calcium, iron, magnesium or zinc should not be taken within 2 hours of any of these kinds of antibiotics as they will inhibit absorption of the antibiotics.
|These go by many brand names||1500mg to 4000mg for Amoxicillin||These are part of the Penicillin family of antibiotics and are bactericidal.|
|These go by many brand names.
Ceftriaxione is generic Rocephin
|Ceftin 500mg twice a day||Cephalosporins are cousins of the penicillins, and approximately 15% of those that are allergic to penicillin will also be allergic to these drugs.
Rocephin is typically taken intravenously (IV).
|Mepron||Atovaquone||750mg twice a day||Taken for Babesia in combination with Zithromax (Azithromycin) and Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (the other drugs prevent resistance from developing).
Mepron must be taken with fatty foods such as ice cream to ensure proper absorption.
|Malarone||Atovaquone + Proguanil||Comes in 250mg/100mg tabs||This is an anti-malarial. It is included here as an alternative to Mepron because it contains Atovaquone.|
|Bactrim/Septra||Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole||Two 80mg/400mg tablets twice per day
Because there are two drugs mixed the amount is listed with a /.
|Taken with Mepron and Zithromax or Cleocin and Quinine.
It has a half life of 12 hours and that is why dosing is twice a day. Drink lots of water with this one to avoid kidney stones.
One study found that 89% of those that took Trimethoprim with one of the above combinations were cured of Babesia while many of those that did not include it relapsed.
Dr Zhang also recommends taking this drug in combination with Qinghaosu
|Trimpex/Proloprim||Trimethoprim||200mg per day||This is the same as above without the sulfamethoxazole.
Some people are allergic to the sulfamethoxazole.
|Rulid/Rothricin||Roxithromycin||300mg twice a day||This is the only macrolide antibiotic that crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB).
Macrolides are typically combined with Bactrim, and if treating for Babesia Mepron is also added. Zithromax and Biaxin are two other macrolides. Macrolides work intracellular.
It is not approved by the FDA so you will have to order it from an overseas pharmacy or go to Mexico to get it.
|Zithromax||Azithromycin||250mg to 600mg per day||See notes above regarding macrolides.
Take it on an empty stomach for full potency. Zithromax will stay in your body for 68 hours, so this drug may be prescribed to be taken every other day.
Some people are reporting great success in combining this drug with Plaquenil and Amoxicillin for treatment of Lyme.
|Biaxin||Clarithromycin||1500mg per day||This drug is a member of the same family as Zithromax. Zithromax is the more advanced drug.|
|Cleocin/Dalacin||Clindamycin||600mg three times a day||This drug is taken in combination with Quinine and Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole for Babesia.
This treatment is hard to tolerate due to hearing loss, fever and headache.
Mepron and Zithromax with T/S are a better option.
|Quinine||Quinine||650mg three times a day||This drug is taken in combination with Cleocin. See above.
Tonic water contains 50 to 70 milligrams of quinine per liter.
|Plaquenil||Chloroquine||200mg to 400mg per day||An anti-malarial taken for Babesia in combination with Quinine.
It is taken in combination with Doxycycline to combat the cystic form of Lyme.
Also used in combination with Biaxin to combat the cystic form of Lyme.
In rare cases it has caused irreversible vision damage. You will need to get a retinal exam before taking this drug.
|Flagyl||Metronidazole||750mg twice per day||This drug is used to treat the cystic form of Lyme Disease as it is capable of killing spirochetes that are in the cystic form.
Flagyl should not be used with Tetracyclines (according to Dr Burrasccano).
Use either Penicillins or Cephalasporins.
Do not consume ANY alcohol with Flagyl or you will have a severe reaction.
Many people find that they get a very strong reaction from this drug and it is advisable to slowly build up to the maximum dose.
|Fasigyn||Tinidazole||1500mg to 3000mg per day||This drug also attacks the cystic form of Lyme and is a relative of Flagyl and is supposed to be easier on your liver and better tolerated by the patient.
It has a half life of 12 hours so if the dose is split up it can work 24 hours a day.
|Rifadin||Rifampin||1200mg per day||Used in conjunction with Doxycycline for the treatment of Bartonella and Ehrlichia.|
|Both of these drugs are aminoglycosides and are used to treat Bartonella.
A bad side effect is that they can cause vestibular damage (hearing/equilibrium).
|ICHT||5 to 10 days of in hospital treatment||This is an experimental treatment for Lyme that elevates the intracellular temperature to levels high enough to kill the disease.
The cost is $20,000, but you may qualify for a reduced rate of $10,000 if you have tested positive on a western blot test in the last 45 days.
Initial reports show that it is very effective in eliminating symptoms but it is unknown if this is a long term cure.
|Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment||HBOT||30 or more 60 to 90 minute sessions||This is a treatment that involves spending time in a pressurized oxygen chamber.
The cost is about $150 to $200 per session.
Many people report improvement, but this is not a cure.
For some reason, children are believed to respond to this treatment better.
|Heparin||Blood Thinner||Injection administered at home by patient.||It is believed that blood thinners cause better circulation and increase the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment.|
|Questran||cholestyramine||This drug binds with bile acids, helping to eliminate them from your system and promote liver health. It also binds with other drugs and supplements, so be sure that if you are taking this in combination with other drugs you do not take them together.|
|These two drugs are used to control yeast problems.|
|Rife Machine||?||This is a treatment that involves sending a weak electric current thru your body at different frequencies.
It is believed that each bacteria/microbe is suceptible to a certain frequency that will inhibit its growth or kill it.
|Allicin||Garlic extract||20mg 3 times per day||This is a potent garlic extract recommended by Dr Zhang for treating Lyme.
Although allicin does have antibacterial properties, studies have proven that allicin breaks down easily and does not make it into the blood stream.
Dr Zhang also recommends other herbs for treating Lyme.
|Garlic||Raw Garlic||1 clove per day (or more), eaten raw and uncooked.||This is hard for a lot of people to imagine even doing, but those that have done it swear by it. I was surprised to find that I really like the way it tastes, and would eat it even if I didn't have Lyme.
You may have stinky breath, but what if it works? And they say that the chemical that makes the smell is one of the active ingredient in garlic, so you are wasting your money if you buy a supplement that is "unscented."
It has been proven that garlic has anti-bacterial properties, and there are many active components to it that have still not been identified. Garlic also has many other health benefits.
|Olive Leaf extract||active ingredient is Oleuropein (pronounced oh-lee-or-oh-pin)||This supplement has been proven to have anti-bacterial as well as anti-viral properties, and is considered a natural antibiotic.
It has been credited with having anti-fungal, anti-yeast and anti-protozoal properties as well. It is also said to inhibit microbes from reproducing.
|Qinghaosu/Wormwood||Latin name Artemisia annua
Careful here, there are Wormwood supplements being sold that are of a different species which are toxic.
It also goes by the name Sweet Annie or Qinghao.
|3 grams per day||This is an herb in Chinese medicine used to treat malaria. The World Health Organization has a page on this herb here.
Studies have proven it to be 100% effective for treating malaria, even strains that are resistant to Quinine and Chloroquine, and Dr Zhang uses it to treat Babesia.
He also recommends combining this herb with Astragalus root, Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula), and the drug Trimethoprim.