Lyme Disease - the facts
SIR - My arthritis of 6 1/2 years is all gone now. I have no pain, no disability and am on no medication.It took 5 doctors and 3 rheumatologists 4 years to diagnose me. It was a chance course of antibiotics which significantly improved my symptoms which
SIR - My arthritis of 6 1/2 years is all gone now. I have no pain, no disability and am on no medication.
It took 5 doctors and 3 rheumatologists 4 years to diagnose me. It was a chance course of antibiotics which significantly improved my symptoms which led my GP to consider Lyme disease. I had attended the surgery at the time of bites, Bulls eye rashes, summer flu' and migrating arthralgias before a full blown chronic illness of arthritis and muscle weakness developed. There had been other cases treated at my surgery here in Guildford in the early stages of tick bite and rashes.
On long term antibiotics following International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society guidelines found at www.ilads.org I am fully recovered, I can cycle and garden again although for 3 1/2 years I was not able to walk up or down stairs properly and at my worst had difficulty standing and walking across a room.
Doctors are told that Lyme Disease is rare in the UK but HPA figures 2008 for England and Wales confirmed 827 cases of positive serology. Because patients rarely are tested by doctors the figures could be 10x this, according to Dr Ho Yen of HPA in Scotland and also CDC in USA.
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Many of the patients I am in touch with have been ill far longer than I was and so there could be a significant number of people struggling with Lyme Disease and un diagnosed here in the UK.
What Doctors are not told
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1.That research shows that blood tests can miss up to 50% of cases
2.Not everyone is aware of the sometimes poppy seed sized tick that bit them
3.That 40% of cases do not get the typical bulls eye rash but if you do you are infected and although your immune system may appear to cope it can sometimes be many years later that you get a full blown chronic infection.
HPA follow IDSA discredited guidelines which advocate only a short course of antibiotics but there is considerable evidence to support that for some of us long term antibiotics can restore health.
Lyme Disease is a spyrochetal illness like syphillis but far more complex. It is on a par in complexity and ability to evade the immune system with TB and Leprosy who ever would consider treating any of those illnesses with just a couple of weeks antibiotics.
So while medicine argues about this disease do your own research and reading so that you can best find treatment that helps you.
Clearly not everyone with Arthritis will be as a result of Lyme Disease but at present doctors are just not considering it as a possible diagnosis. Instead patients are put on high doses of steroids for many years when just simple antibiotics could indeed be the answer.
There is evidence that Lyme Disease can be caught from a tick bite anywhere in the UK.
For more information see UK charity Lyme Disease Action at www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk
Joanne Drayson, Guildford.