Lyme Disease Difficult To Diagnose, Treat

With every article I find on Lyme, the awareness of the disease becomes greater.  I am also warmed by the accuracy of the reported details.  Of course, I wish that more accurate information was available 20 years ago when I and others were first exposed and contracted Lyme, but I am pleased that these efforts will help protect the still healthy.

Excerpted from ABC News TheDenverChannel.COM ( Posted: 2/03/2010 )

CDC Reports About 20,000 New Cases Each Year

Lyme disease can leave victims more disabled than a heart attack. Some doctors say there is an under-recognized rise in the cases of the disease in the U.S. If caught early, Lyme disease is treatable, but in many cases, patients don’t get the characteristic rash at the site of a bite. Now, patients and doctors are speaking up about a disease that some are calling the next pandemic.

Ten years ago, Julie Hutchingson came down with a mysterious set of symptoms.

“Depression, severe fatigue, insomnia, series of vertigo, unexplained tendonitis that would not heal, floaters in my eyes,” Hutchingson said.

The busy mom went from doctor to doctor, who suggested it could be over 10 different conditions.

“A couple of doctors mentioned HIV, possibly AIDS,” Hutchingson said.

After seven years, she finally got a definitive diagnosis — Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 20,000 cases of Lyme disease have occurred in the U.S. in recent years but says actual numbers could be up to 10 times that amount.

The root of the underreporting? Some doctors say it lies in the blood test.

“The CDC recognizes three strains right now, but there might be 300 strains,” said Dr. Michael Cichon, assistant clinical professor at the University of South Florida.

Doctors also disagree on treatment. Cichon uses IV antibiotic therapy for four months or longer on some of his patients. The Infectious Diseases Society of America says the long-term treatment carries risks like antibiotic resistance and infection and recommends a shorter course of less than two months — based on three National Institutes of Health studies

“And all three studies indicated that prolonging antibiotic treatment after 60 days does not seem to have any further effect,” said David Balkwill, professor of microbiology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine.

“The Infectious Diseases Society needs to stop their guidelines. Make them just recommendations,” Cichon said.

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~ by Rob on February 3, 2010.

5 Responses to “Lyme Disease Difficult To Diagnose, Treat”

  1. I am Julie Hutchingson. Thanks for adding this article to your handbook. I live in Florida where most doctors say that “lyme is not in Florida”. I share this to encourage others to be their own advocate for their health. If I had accepted that I would not be doing as well as i am today nor would I have recognized the symptoms to get my daughter diagnosed.

    • Julie, I am very pleased that you are finally getting the proper treatment. And I hope your daughter is doing well.

      As I am sure that you know, convincing others that ones symptoms could very well be the result of Lyme is difficult and frustrating. Most people look at you cockeyed. But with an estimated 200k cases/year, and since it has been around for well over 10 years, we are looking at an epidemic of more than two million people in this country alone. That is essentially one in 150 Americans.

      Of course, for most of these people their Lyme is probably still dormant. But eventually, we all are going to be in for a rude awakening.

      Although, I still can not stand or walk, I have been seeing an Eastern European doctor who is treating me without drugs. She is getting my immune system healthy again after 20 years of Lyme and nine years of I.V. antibiotics. All of my other Lyme symptoms are gone.

      If you or anyone you know is interested drop me a message at: LYMEHANDBOOK@GMAIL.COM

      All the best,

  2. Julie,
    I just saw your hd9 interview. Very nice job.
    I hope you are feeling better.

    For anyone interested in Julie’s interview:

  3. I wanted to add my email. I have been contacted many times for suooport and questions about how to find a doctor etc… However, my email changed. If you need help, especially in Florida email me

    • Julie,
      Thank you for your updated email address. And yes, we do get Floridians occasionally looking for good LLDs. I’ll be sure to pass along your contact info.
      Thanks again,

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