Commentary: LD – Why the disconnect?

Is it truly all about Money and Politics?  For a select few physicians, the answer is indubitably “yes”.  But, for nearly all physicians, helping the patient is of the utmost concern.  So then, why is there so much contention between the medical establishment and the Lyme community regarding treating Lyme patients?

Compliments of A. Cattermole

 

When it comes to Lyme Disease (LD), “The Great Imitator”, it looks like so many other diseases, it often frustrates physicians.  Since the disease looks like so many other diseases, it contradicts the doctors years of training. 

The extensive list of potential LD symptoms can make everyone appear to have LD.  [1]  But hypochondria does not mean you are not sick.  In fact, the probability of you contracting LD is far greater than ALS, MS, Parkinson’s, etc.  So it seems wiser to investigate LD beforehand.

To complicate matters further, many Lyme literate doctors (LLD) and LD patients group tick borne infections (e.g. Lyme; Bartonella; Babesiosis; Ehrlichiosis; RMSF; etc.) into one category – LD.  Even though this may over simplify the disease, it is in direct conflict with the medical community which is understandably more pedantic about such matters. 

Since the medical community is setting policy for the population as a whole, they need to be more scientific and exact when referring to diseases and treatments.  LLDs on the other hand, operate almost like a MASH unit, trying to get their patients functioning and back on the front-lines using whatever means possible.

For example, Dr. Gary Wormser, chief of infectious diseases at Westchester Medical Center and one of the chief opponents of the existence of chronic LD recognizes that Babesiosis, a malaria-like infection is on the rise in NY, yet dismisses LD as being much of a threat. [2]  LLMDs and LD patients generally talk about Babesiosis, a disease which often affects the patients’ heart and lungs, in the same breathe with LD.    To the medical community, it’s a different pathogen altogether and it’s not considered LD thus misleading the public as to the risk of tick-borne illnesses by reducing the number of TBI occurrances.

Another bone of contention is the denial by the medical community that chronic LD even exists. LLMDs see dozens of patients daily who are crippled by the disease; relapsing after episodes of long-term antibiotics; and yet find some relief from treatment.  On the other hand, the medical community generally believes a three week course of antibiotics is sufficient; any more is dangerous.  So then what happens after the three weeks do not work?  Does LD officially become MS and you are neglected?

What the medical community is more concerned about is the threat to the general public.   Surviving bacteria from treatments may mutate and become resistant to the antibiotic.   After decades of over prescribing antibiotics for the most basic ailments, this position is hypocritical.

LLDs see so many neglected or misdiagnosed LD patients that they tend to shoot first and ask questions later.  Certainly, the arthritic, neuropathic, lethargic patient with dementia is a likely candidate for LD, but specialized LD testing labs are so sensitive to the LD antibodies that they too often show positive Lyme test results.  Yet again, feeding the argument for the non-believers.

It is generally agreed that long-term antibiotics are dangerous to the patient.  But LLDs often believe that not treating LD is substantially more detrimental.

As with most things in life, moderation is the best course of action.  With that said:

  • Educate yourself about LD;
  • Be aware that much more is yet to be known about contracting and treating the disease;
  • Treat all LD information with skepticism and be aware that much more is still to be discovered.
  • Nurture your immune system; and
  • Be your own  advocate;

 

All the best,

Rob


[2] Malaria-like disease appearing in New York  (UPI.com – Published: July 26, 2010 at 1:12 AM)

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~ by Rob on February 8, 2011.

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