How to Find Out if You Have Lyme Disease (Plus Testing That Works)

— BY Corey Deacon | Reading Time: 4 min

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Have you ever hid from something and it made you happier? Your 5-year-old child is playing hide and seek and having oh so much fun that you don’t want it to stop. Your mother-in-law stops by unannounced and you don’t want her to know you’re home. You just found out you are pregnant and you are hiding the surprise for the big reveal. 

These are all good reasons to hide (as long as you don’t tell your mother-in-law). But unfortunately, Lyme disease also likes to hide. However, unlike your 5-year-old daughter playing hide and seek, it doesn’t want to be found. This is likely one of the reasons why your health discovery journey may have felt confusing and complex. 

Lyme Borellia and other co-infections are master hiders. They hide very well and know exactly how to evade your immune system. 

Why is this a problem? Hiding is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to detect the presence of Lyme disease and its co-infections in your body. The infection can hide intracellularly (inside your cells) or inside biofilms, a sort of protection the pathogen builds around itself to hide and evade detection. It’s quite the stealth invader!

Biofilm of Borrelia burgorferi (Source)

When the pathogens hide inside our cells, they also don’t leave a marker, which is another reason why they are difficult to detect. This means that you can have Lyme disease and co-infections yet your “Lyme” tests can come back negative. 

In addition, if you have had Lyme disease for months or even years, the infection gets better at evading the immune system as time goes on. Infections lasting longer than 6-12 months also slow the production of antibodies which means an antibody-mediated test (often given as an initial test for Lyme Borrelia infections) can come back negative.

Head spinning yet? Unfortunately, that’s not all. You can also have Lyme co-infections without even having Lyme disease (presence of Borrelia). So you could test negative for Lyme disease but still have one or more of the close to 34 other recognized co-infections that can make you highly symptomatic.

Lyme disease is a head-spinner, but thankfully there is hope as more research and better testing has entered the scene. Let’s talk about some of the complexities around Lyme testing and what you can do if you suspect you are dealing with Lyme-related symptoms.

“How Do I Know if I am Getting Tested Correctly for Lyme Disease?”

So we have already established that it is difficult to detect the presence of Lyme disease. But, thankfully, techniques and private testing have been developed to circumvent these complexities (and outsmart the pathogen).

One technique is PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) which looks at Lyme antigens and the organism’s DNA.

High-definition PCR (Source)

While PCR can be effective for detecting Lyme disease, knowing how to give this test is also important. In order to get a good reading, your lymph system needs to be moving. To increase lymphatic movement, here at Neurvana Health, we may use infrared sauna, exercise, or simply therapeutic ultrasound on various areas of the body where we think the infection may be present. To detect its presence, we can review your symptoms and where you experience pain. So we may look at memory problems and use ultrasound on the temporal, upper cervical regions and down the spinal cord. We may also use it on the joints, gallbladder or spleen. 

What does the ultrasound do? Well, the infections have what we call Velcro proteins that allow them to attach to connective tissue. So the ultrasound breaks these proteins and the organisms get dispersed into the circulation where we can detect them. We can detect their DNA in blood or urine. 

We typically do the PCR test if a client’s antibodies are low. How do you know if your antibodies are low? Your doctor can give you a test for IgG (Immunoglobulin A) antibodies. You can also test for IgA (Immunoglobulin A), and IgM (Immunoglobulin M) antibodies. If your antibody numbers test low (we generally don’t like to see them below the halfway mark), you may be a better candidate for PCR testing because you have a higher chance of a false negative on antibody testing and suggests that you are dealing with a more chronic infection (you may have had it for 6-12 months or longer).

The Right Testing and Care = The Road to Recovery

So we talked about some of the complexities around detecting Lyme and its co-infections and also why some of the current testing is flawed. We also talked about a solution to testing that could detect Lyme in chronic cases. All of this comes down to finding a doctor who understands Lyme’s complexities and can provide you with private testing that is based on more current research. 

When you see a provider, you want to test for multiple infections including:

  • Borrelia
  • Bartonella
  • Ehrlichia
  • Babesia
  • Anaplasma
  • Rickettsia
  • Coxsackievirus

With proper lab testing, we can detect 15 confirmed infections that cause disease. We don’t currently know all of the infections but the main thing to remember is to get testing beyond just Borrelia burgdorferi.

TIP: If you have been tested for Lyme disease before and it came back negative but you have a sneaky suspicion that the test wasn’t accurate (trust your instincts), you may want to get re-tested.

What to Do When You Get Bit by a Tick (Or You Think You Have Lyme)

If you get bit by a tick and you have the tick in your possession, get it tested at your local testing facility. The facility will likely test it for Borrelia burgdorferi. We also recommend you get tested as well, even if you are not experiencing symptoms or you did not get a bullseye rash. Nearly half of the people who contract Lyme disease don’t even show signs of a bullseye rash.  

If you think you may have Lyme disease and you have been dealing with symptoms for months or even years, you are likely disillusioned with your health journey (we get it) and you need some well-deserved answers. You don’t have to accept your symptoms as a life sentence as even the most complex cases can be helped. We have a strong track record of helping our clients get to the root cause of their symptoms so they can get on a lasting road to recovery. If you have questions or you just want to talk to someone about your health journey, we are here for you. Go here to book a 30-minute complimentary call with one of our trained health advisers. Be well!

Find out if you have Lyme Disease

Book your 30 minute complimentary discovery call to find out not only how our testing works but also how we can help you recover from Lyme disease.