What Is Lyme Disease, And How You Can Overcome It With The Right Specialist

Do you suspect you have Lyme disease or have been positively diagnosed with Lyme by your doctor?

Since Lyme disease and its 32 known co-infections are often mistaken for MS, Lupus or Fibromyalgia and the conventional medical community continues to lag behind new research, most people do not receive the correct care required to restore their health.

That’s not surprising…after all, it is one of the hardest diseases to treat in the world.

If you have been diagnosed with Lyme or suspect you have Lyme you may:

  • endure a multitude of crippling symptoms that affect your physical, chemical, neurological, and emotional integrity.

  • feel like you are living a life of quiet desperation, where no one, not even your doctor, understands you

  • feel embarrassed that you can no longer perform tasks you once did with ease

  • have taken antibiotics for Lyme but you still don’t feel as though your health has fully returned

  • feel annoyed with conventional medicine and it’s lack of understanding about Lyme

  • spent a tremendous amount of time and money looking for a lasting solution, but are still searching.

  • And all you want to do is get to the bottom of things, and restore your quality of life.

For many health providers, figuring out the complexities behind Lyme is about as easy as finding a green thread in a mile-long strip of grass…. It can seem impossible.

However, here at the Neurvana Health Naturopathic Clinic we have been helping clients overcome the confusion and see real lasting health.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Whether from Lyme disease, its co-infections or both, the symptoms of Lyme are widespread, which is another reason why it can be hard to diagnose. Here is a list of the common and not-so-common symptoms we see:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms (right after tick bite)
  • Brain fog/decreased cognitive function
  • Noise and sound intolerance
  • Blurry vision/eye discomfort
  • Memory problems
  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Gut/digestion issues
  • Hearing problems
  • Heart palpitations
  • Mood swings
  • Tremors
  • Weight gain / weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Included below is a chart from a study in the Medical Microbiology publication showing how similar the symptoms of Lyme disease and other frequently misdiagnosed diseases can be.

Image courtesy of Borrelia burgdorferi: Cell Biology and Clinical Manifestations in Latent Chronic Lyme

While this is a large list of symptoms, this is not exhaustive as you may exhibit different symptoms than another person even though you both test positive for Lyme. This is why you need customized care and treatment for your unique physiology. Otherwise, you will never get to the root cause and experience long-term recovery.

What is Lyme Disease?

Courtesy of Envita Medical

Traditionally, doctors will diagnose Lyme disease when you test positive for antibodies to a Lyme borreliosis infection after being bitten by a tick. Conventional medicine also dictates that you will get a bullseye rash where the tick bit your skin and you may also experience flu-like symptoms.

But new research suggests that you can have Lyme disease without getting a bullseye rash or experiencing flu-like symptoms. In fact, fewer than half of Lyme patients ever recall even being bit by a tick. 

You also may have had Lyme for weeks, months or even years and never experienced any symptoms until now. Over time, the bacteria can invade your central nervous system and other tissue and even hide behind what we call biofilms to evade the immune system.

This is one of the reasons why Lyme is so complex and hard to identify without the right Lyme disease specialist.

Co-infections

One of the reasons why Lyme disease is so difficult to pinpoint is because of what we call co-infections. When you have a co-infection, it simply means that one tick gave you more than one infection at the same time.

To explain this, let’s step back a little. Lyme disease was discovered in the 1980s in the town of Lyme, Connecticut, hence its name. Borrelia burgdorferi was identified as the bacterial species behind the disease. But since then we know a lot more about the complexities that come with Lyme (aka co-infections).

Borellia under microscope
The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (Source)

Here’s the problem:

False-negative Lyme tests are prevalent because they don’t consider co-infections.

If you get a test for Lyme that only isolates Borrelia burgdorferi, yet you have other co-infections, you may still get a negative diagnosis even if you are highly symptomatic.

Here’s the problem:
False-negative Lyme tests are prevalent because they don’t consider co-infections.

Co-infections are quite common among Lyme sufferers. In fact, there are currently around 34 other recognized co-infections you can contract with Lyme.

Also, according to a PeerJ study of people with chronic Lyme disease,

  • 53.3% of respondents contracted tickborne co-infections

  • with 23.5% contracting at least one co-infection

  • and 29.8% contracting two or more co-infections.

Bartonella: One of The Most Common Lyme Co-Infections

Bartonella is one of the co-infections we see most often with Lyme disease. It is a tiny intracellular bacteria (it likes to go inside our cells) that affects our red blood cells. If you have bartonellosis (what it’s called when you are infected with Bartonella), your symptoms may include:

  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Joint pain
  • Gut issues

Your bloodwork may also show anemia if you have bartonellosis because of its effect on red blood cells.

The problem with Bartonella is that it is easily activated but difficult to eradicate in the body. It also causes chronic symptoms.

Other Lyme Co-Infections From Ticks (And Other Bugs)

Ticks aren’t the only insects that transmit disease-causing pathogens. Sandflies transmit a bacterial co-infection called Ehrlichia, which causes ehrlichiosis. This is also called canine rickettsia (it’s a  infection) because you see it a lot in dogs, even though the human form of this infection is transmittable. 

Sandflies also transmit a spirochete bacteria called Borrelia which can mutate into four different forms. Other bacteria transmitted by sandflies are Borrelia miyamotoi, Borrelia recurrentis, and Borrelia recurrentis.

Babesia

Babesia is similar to malaria as it’s an intracellular parasite (parasites that like to live in cells). Even though it’s similar to malaria, it doesn’t cause the same intensity of symptoms, yet its symptoms mimic that of Bartonella because it affects your red blood cells. You may even experience nerve pain along with one of the telltale signs of Babesia, night sweats. Similar to Bartonella, if symptoms become chronic, it can also be difficult to take care of.

How to Recover From Lyme and Its Co-Infections

When helping people with Lyme co-infections, especially those who have become chronic, we also have to look at what we call dysbiotic infections AKA dysbiosis.

If a co-infection is dysbiotic, it only grows or proliferates when given the opportunity. These are also known as opportunistic organisms. If the infection isn’t activated, it won’t produce symptoms and your immune system can keep it at bay. 

Did you ever think that…

  • a car accident or concussion could activate a bacterial infection?
  • What about mold toxicity?
  • What about emotional trauma?

Each of these instances, and more, can cause infections to activate.

These instances all create the ‘opportunity’ for these organisms to proliferate. So it’s important to understand that just because you identify the specific co-infections you’re dealing with, it doesn’t mean that you will get better, that is, until you address underlying immune issues. 

Immune dysfunction gives these infections the opportunity to express themselves in your body and cause symptoms.   

The path to recovery should also involve looking at what has caused your body’s immune system to experience dysfunction and become imbalanced. 

This is good news!

If you’ve been dealing with co-infection symptoms and your current protocols aren’t helping, it’s likely you are missing something that is causing your immune system to fall out of balance.

Instead of focusing solely on the type of infection, addressing immune challenges can make a world of difference.

“Can’t I just kill the co-infection species that are causing my symptoms?”

It’s a great and valid question and one you probably have been asking for a while now. It’s likely you haven’t found an answer though because there are differing opinions on whether or not we can completely eradicate these infections from our bodies. 

But what we know to be true here at Neurvana Health Naturopathic Clinic is that as long as your immune system is functioning properly, you can keep the infections in remission, which means you will not be symptomatic. 

A lot of factors regulate our immune system: gut function, hormones, emotions, dietneurotransmitters, to name a few. Any one of these factors, if not addressed, can throw our immune system out of balance. 

You could also be carrying Lyme co-infections without even realizing it.

Many people are carrying infections but they’re asymptomatic. If you do test positive for an infection and you are not symptomatic, we recommend thinking about prevention since co-infections can cause long-term chronic illnesses.

Our client Pam Purnell came to us after unknowingly suffering with Lyme disease for 20 years. She came to our clinic looking for answers and she found them. We are so proud of Pam and her progress!

If you live in the Calgary, AB area or you are interested in long-distance (or virtual) consulting and care, we can help. We offer complimentary 30-minute consultations with trained health advisers who can lead you on the right path in the next stage of your journey to recovery.

Lyme disease testing

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to figure out if you have Lyme Disease or co-infections simply by evaluating your symptoms and interactions. This is because of symptom overlap among co-infections. Also, as we mentioned previously, it’s typical to get more than one co-infection, another reason why diagnosing solely on symptoms is not recommended. 

The best way to test for Lyme disease and co-infections is to use antibody testing and PCR testing. We offer Lyme disease testing in our Calgary clinic by working closely with a lab in Germany called Armin Labs. This lab uses Elispot and ImmuBlot testing which is a form of provoked immune testing.

This type of testing is essential for detecting stealth microbes like Lyme and co-infections because these pathogens are so good at evading the immune system, it makes them difficult to detect.

For these reasons we don’t recommend using at-home test kits to test for the presence of Lyme and co-infections.

“…we don’t recommend using at-home test kits to test for the presence of Lyme and co-infections.

A lot of the current testing is outdated and it will return back false negatives and positives. You also need specialized testing if you are in the chronic stages (dealing with the infection for several months or years) because your antibodies may not be present in large numbers (traditional Lyme tests look for antibodies to identify the presence of infection).

Accuracy is only possible with the type of provoked immune testing we offer at our facility. If you want to get tested for Lyme and co-infections, choose a facility that offers testing that can detect Lyme and its co-infections with accuracy, you don’t want to live with these conditions going misdiagnosed.  If you have any questions about testing, we’d also be happy to get on a call with you to discuss this more.

Here at Neurvana Health, we take advantage of the latest Lyme research and Lyme disease testing in Calgary to uncover the root cause of your symptoms. Whether you are unsure of what is causing your symptoms or you already have a diagnosis, our Lyme disease specialists have the tools to help you get on a path to recovery, regardless of how long you have been symptomatic. 

We use private laboratory tests that have been proven safe and accurate:

“PCR testing for Lyme is an exciting breakthrough as it allows us to detect Lyme in the most chronic cases.

We also use non-invasive PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) which looks at Lyme antigens and the pathogen’s DNA, instead of antibodies. PCR testing for Lyme is an exciting breakthrough as it allows us to detect Lyme in the most chronic cases.

Choosing the right Lyme disease doctor

It’s natural to be skeptical of Lyme disease doctors and specialists these days. It seems like every practitioner has jumped on the Lyme disease bandwagon, largely in part due to the profitability of the disease and the complexity of it. But few are able to actually deliver desired results.

If you have Lyme disease and related co-infections or you suspect that you could be dealing with it (even if you received a negative diagnosis), it’s important to work with a Lyme disease doctor or specialist who looks at your body holistically and assesses the underlying function that may be causing these co-infections to activate. Luckily, if you live in Calgary there are several Lyme disease doctors and specialists to choose from that know how to approach the disease in this manner.

Diagnosing and treating Lyme is still new frontier for most practitioners. It is a proverbial “gold rush” drawing out every “prospector” in a lab coat. It is not uncommon to talk to people that have Lyme to hear they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. One specific person we personally have worked with in a professional capacity spent $700,000 USD and still didn’t have the results he wanted.

When choosing a Lyme disease doctor or specialist in Calgary or abroad, its important to interview them and find out if they trully know how to diagnose and treat the disease and its accompanying co-infections before you lay down any of your hard earned money.

Some specific questions you may want to ask are:

  • Have you had Lyme or co-infections yourself?
    (Lyme can be difficult to communicate and often times the professionals that have had to endure the disease themselves are the ones that understand it the best)
  • How are you able to identify if I have Lyme and or Co-infections?
    (if they answer anything other than antibody or PCR testing than they should be reconsidered)

  • How does Lyme disease transfer?
    (if they do not know that it can transfer in utero, sexually, and by more insects than just ticks they likely arnt the right provider)

  • What role does emotional and physical trauma play into the treatment protocol?

  • Do you have clients case studies that you can share who have who you have helped successfully overcome Lyme and co-infections?

And remember, if they call it “Lymes”, with an S at the end, run in the other direction.

If you are ready to work with compassionate Lyme disease specialists in Calgary who can help you restore your health and quality of life, you can contact us here for a complimentary 30-minute call with one of our trained health advisers.

Whether you are unsure of what is causing your symptoms or you already have a diagnosis, our Lyme disease specialists have the tools to help you get on a path to recovery, regardless of how long you have been symptomatic. 

Take The First Step To Overcoming Lyme Disease

Getting a clear and accurate identification of lyme disease and co-infections is the first step to feeling better. We have access to the most advanced detection process in the world so that you can finally determine if you have the disease or the accompanying co-infections and what actions to take to feel better.