Please download this pdf we’ve created about Lyme disease symptoms, testing, and treatment options: Lyme Disease in Kingston
~ Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
Understanding tick-borne diseases is not usually on our summer priority list, but times are changing. Ticks infected with Lyme disease-causing bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) are present in Kingston and pose a risk for contraction of serious chronic illness. The Chief Medical Officer of Health in Ontario acknowledges that Lyme disease cases and the number of black-legged ticks that carry the illness are increasing. The illness cannot be diagnosed with lab testing alone and since symptoms vary widely between people, acquiring proper medical help can be difficult. Consequently, prevention and early treatment even before symptoms appear, is critical.
Ticks in Ontario that carry infections are usually reddish brown, 3 to 5mm small, live in wooded areas, and are active from early Spring to late Fall. Infected ticks may transmit bacteria to people through a bite, though most people exposed to these bacteria never contract a disease. Please see below for our Prevention Guidelines for more information on detecting and treating tick bites.
Many of the symptoms health practitioners are taught to look for, such as a non-itchy “bulls-eye” rash, may actually only occur in less than 50% of people with Lyme disease. The high variability of symptoms mimics many other diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis, Bipolar disorder, arthritis, and Fibromyalgia. The great variability may be explained by the bug’s suppression of the immune system, which allows inflammation or other chronic infections to attack the body according to the person’s individual genetic, lifestyle, and environmental exposure history. This change in immune function may also be why people with Lyme disease often develop additional chronic illnesses, including depression, thyroid conditions, and possibly Alzheimer’s or Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Some authorities claim that public health two-stage testing for Lyme disease only catches the illness in approximately 65% of cases. It also only searches for a handful of the hundreds of bacterial strains known to cause Lyme and associated infections. The lack of adequate science for thorough lab testing is one of the main reasons for the controversy surrounding chronic Lyme disease. Though Lyme disease must be diagnosed according to your symptoms and not from test results, more thorough testing can help to attain a proper diagnosis and guide a more effective treatment plan. This testing may be ordered by your MD or ND through IGeneX Laboratories in California.
When addressing infections such as Lyme, the strength in an integrative health approach comes from not only killing the bug with antibiotics, but in evaluating and treating your entire immune system and its relationship to other systems in your body. Speak to a “Lyme-literate” integrative health practitioner to improve your chances of a full recovery.