Lyme Disease

tick

As the snow is melting and we look forward to warmer weather, I thought this would be a good time to post about the Naturopathic treatment of Lyme disease.  Tick populations are high during the warmer months in the Niagara region, and we have had countless patients report tick bites and also show the signs of infection.  Lyme disease is not often focused on in the media, however people do contract the illness very frequently.  I feel that our current state of health is a contributing factor to why people are much more susceptible to developing and suffering with Lyme disease.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infection by a bacteria that enters the bloodstream through a tick bite given by an infected tick.  Borrellia burgdorferi is the infectious agent, transferred by the tick, that is common to North America.  Ticks have a hard outer shell and when they bite they burrow their heads into the skin.  This often requires the tick to be carefully removed with tweezers or a scraping tool.

Borrellia burgdorferi is a spirochetal bacteria.  Spirochetes are very difficult to treat because they multiply in a way that enables them to shift their genetic make up.  This makes creating a drug to target them very difficult.

What are the symptoms?

1) A tick bite occurs.

target lesion

2) A target lesion may appear at the site of the bite (occurs in 70-80% of those infected).  A target lesion is a sign of localized infection at the site of the bite.  It can be the size of a loonie or larger.

3) Some people will experience a delayed onset of the symptoms.  This is an “incubation” period that can last 1-2 weeks.  This can also vary and be much shorter or longer (months-years later).

4) Early symptoms: target lesion, rash, fever, headache, fatigue.

5) Later symptoms: músculo-skeletal, central nervous system and cardiovascular symptoms.  For example, persistent muscle pain, joint pain, difficulty walking, extreme fatigue, poor memory and cognitive function, insomnia, congestive heart failure.

How Can Naturopathic Treatment Help?

Conventional treatment of Lyme Disease includes the repeated use of antibiotics.  There are a handful of conventional doctors in North America, who specialize in the treatment of Lyme disease, who also suggest nutritional changes to promote health and healing.

In Naturopathic Medicine we have found that those with Lyme disease experience an obstacle to cure this issue because of:

a) Acidic body chemistry is causing the bacteria to thrive in their body and also reduces the ability for the immune system to fight off the bacteria.

b) Inflammatory foods in the diet hinder the body’s immune system to work effectively and also contributes to acidity.

c) Poor detoxification pathways which lead to the build up of waste in the bloodstream and the body’s tissue.  This also contributes to acidity and stifles the immune system from clearing the infection.

d) Dysbiosis, or low levels of healthy bacteria.  When this is the case, unfavourable organisms, like Borrellia,  flourish.

In addition, we have the knowledge to use antibacterial and anti parasitic remedies that are natural and effective, yet do not carry the same depleting effects as antibiotics.

When treated by a Naturopathic Doctor, a dynamic, multifaceted plan is created to suit the individual going through Lyme disease.  Every patient’s expression of the disease is different, so we work on the different elements of each patient’s health to more effectively address the disease.

If you have questions or need more information about the Naturopathic treatment of Lyme disease.  Feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

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