Categories
Lyme disease

10 Facts You Should Know About Lyme Disease

  1. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that is only transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected tick.

  2. To infect its host, a tick typically must be attached to the skin for at least 36 hours.

  3. Most cases of Lyme disease occur in late spring and early summer.

  4. The most common symptoms of Lyme disease include a red, circular “bulls-eye” rash often accompanied by muscle and joint aches. About 70 to 80 percent of people infected develop the rash, which shows up several days to weeks after the tick bite.

  5. Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history, physical exam, and sometimes a blood test. It may take four to six weeks for the human immune system to make antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi and therefore show up in a positive blood test. That is why patients with the Lyme rash usually have a negative blood test and diagnosis is based on the characteristic appearance of the rash. Patients with other clinical manifestations such as Lyme arthritis will usually have a blood test.  Anyone who has symptoms for longer than six weeks and who has never been treated with antibiotics is unlikely to have Lyme disease if the blood test is negative.

  6. Most cases of Lyme disease are successfully treated with a few weeks of antibiotics. Using antibiotics for a very long time (months or years) does not offer superior results and in fact can be dangerous, because it can cause potentially fatal complications.

  7. Tickborne diseases have been reported in all 48 contiguous states and Alaska, though the majority or focused in the Northeast and Midwest.

  8. Researchers didn’t identify the cause of Lyme disease and connect it with ticks until 1981. The bacterium that causes the disease is named in honor of Willy Burgdorfer, the scientist who made the connection.

  9. In 2016 there were over 58,000 cases of Lyme disease reported in the US. Cases of vector borne diseases from ticks and mosquitos have tripled since 2004.

  10. The best treatment for Lyme disease is prevention: Be cautious when walking in the woods, avoiding bushy and grassy areas. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and wear insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin. After walking in wooded areas, thoroughly check the skin for the poppy-seed sized ticks, paying particular attention to the scalp, armpits and groin. If you find a tick, carefully remove it with tweezers.


Categories
Celiac disease

20 Things You Might Not Know About Celiac Disease

  1. Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease, which means that you cannot “grow out” of it.

  2. 1 in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease.

  3. Celiac disease affects an estimated three million Americans.

  4. 80% of Americans with celiac disease are not diagnosed and are needlessly suffering.

  5. People with a first degree relative with celiac disease have a 1 in 10 chance of developing celiac disease themselves.

  6. More children have celiac disease than Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and Cystic Fibrosis combined.

  7. Celiac disease can affect every organ in your body.

  8. Lifelong adherence to the gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease.

  9. Approximately 20% of people with celiac disease do not respond to the gluten-free diet.

  10. There is an average delay of 6-10 years for an accurate celiac disease diagnosis.

  11. Without a timely diagnosis, celiac disease can lead to intestinal cancers, type 1 diabetes, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis, anemia, infertility and miscarriage, epilepsy, and more.

  12. There are over 300 symptoms associated with celiac disease.

  13. Approximately 20% of people with celiac disease are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t experience any external symptoms at all. However, everyone with celiac disease is still at risk for long-term complications.

  14. Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medications that contain gluten.

  15. The later the age of celiac disease diagnosis, the greater the chance of developing another autoimmune disorder.

  16. There are two steps to being diagnosed with celiac disease: the blood test and the endoscopy.

  17. People with celiac disease have an increased incidence of microscopic colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).

  18. People with celiac disease may have lactose and/or fructose intolerance, both of which can be diagnosed by a hydrogen breadth test.

  19. People recently diagnosed with celiac disease are commonly deficient in fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, folate, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.

  20. Any food product that is labeled “gluten-free” cannot contain more than 20 parts per million of gluten, which is the safe threshold of gluten consumption for people with celiac disease.

Categories
Lyme disease

10 Things To Know When Someone In Your Life Has Lyme Disease

Someone you know is sick with Lyme disease. It could be a friend, a family member, a significant other or just an acquaintance. Whoever it is, you have questions. Or maybe you don’t, but you want a better idea of what the heck is going on. This article will hopefully offer some explanation, and can probably be applied to a variety of chronic illnesses. I’m not a doctor (disclaimer!) but I have personal experience with many “invisible” illnesses and Lyme (unfortunately). I am the Commissioner and Secretary for the City of Danbury’s Commission for Persons with disAbilities, and I have been diagnosed with Lyme and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In addition, I am the Communications Coordinator for Lyme Connection.

Lyme Connection, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (formerly Ridgefield Lyme Disease Task Force), works with the community about prevention and early diagnosis and support patients. The goal is to connect patients with compassionate care, helpful services and fellow patients. Lyme Connection’s mission is to make the community a healthier place by preventing tick-borne diseases and supporting patients and their families throughout their illness. Everyone needs encouragement and validation to make it through what is often a daunting challenge. Please read on for the 10 things to know when someone in your life has Lyme disease.

1. Lyme disease is an invisible illness. What does this mean? When someone with Lyme is feeling absolutely horrible they are likely looking no different on the outside than they do on one of their “really good days”. This disease usually does not present itself with obvious visible symptoms. Normally you will not see a Lyme patient with their legs wrapped up in casts or with huge bleeding gashes on their bodies. Our symptoms tend to be more internal. Things like extreme fatigue/weakness, joint and muscle pain, dizziness, nausea, anxiety and brain fog aren’t necessarily easily detected just by looking at a person. It can be hard to understand how a person can be feeling so horrible when they look “fine”. Often times, they even seem to be acting fine!

2. Lyme patients quickly become amazing actors. When you’re sick with a cold or a flu for a couple of days, maybe even a week, you likely spend that whole time in bed or on the couch, maybe complaining about how miserable you feel (definitely not venturing out in public and likely not even leaving your bedroom). You probably tell your friends and family you’ll see them when you’re feeling better and you feel too horrible for company right now. Simple tasks like food preparation and household chores are put on hold. Basically, life is put on hold. Which is acceptable when it only happens for a week at a time, probably once or twice a year. Everyone gets sick, it’s fine, it happens, it sucks, but life goes on. But, when you have a chronic illness, you often wake up everyday feeling like you have a horrible flu and the worst hangover of your life all rolled into one dreadfully uncomfortable package. As easy as it would be to stay in bed and not talk to anyone or do anything, you know these symptoms aren’t going to just disappear tomorrow or even next week. This means you try to push yourself as much as you can to do normal things. Some days you might not be able to push much more than making yourself dinner. Other days you might venture out to the store or to see a friend. Your friend might tell you how great you look. “You must be feeling better! You’re out and about!” You’re conversing and laughing and you look like you’re feeling fine! Unfortunately a lot of the time, it’s all an act.

When you’re chronically sick you learn pretty quickly that wallowing and complaining about symptoms and refusing company leads to a very lonely and isolated life. People quickly get tired of hearing you complain about how horrible you’re feeling, and you quickly get tired of being stuck in bed with no company. So when you can, you get up, you go out, and you put on a show. You smile and you laugh and you act like you aren’t feeling any pain or discomfort at all. It is difficult and heartbreaking to have to live your life “pretending”. It’s also extremely exhausting. And sometimes in the middle of this act symptoms get worse and you find it harder to appear normal.

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