Taking Folic Acid with Methotrexate for Arthritis: 9 Things You Must Know

This supplement can help minimize many bothersome side effects from MTX.

Methotrexate is the leading disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) given to people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and many other types of inflammatory arthritis. By reducing your immune system’s ability to produce cells that cause inflammation, methotrexate (MTX) reduces arthritis symptoms and, over time, the destruction of affected joints. MTX also boosts the release of adenosine, a highly anti-inflammatory chemical that is found in all human cells.

Unfortunately, MTX causes bothersome side effects in many people, but some of these can be lessened with a simple supplement of vitamin B9, also known as folate (usually taken as a folic acid supplement).

“It is impossible to predict who will suffer side effects [from methotrexate]. Because folic acid supplements have a very low risk of harm, recommending them to all patients starting MTX is a worthwhile investment in preventing side effects and increasing the likelihood that patients will stay on this often extremely effective rheumatoid arthritis medication,” says Amanda Steiman, MD, M.Sc, a rheumatologist at Sinai Health System/University Health Network in Toronto, Canada and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.

Here’s more information about the importance of folic acid while taking methotrexate.

1. Why is my doctor recommending that I take folic acid?

Folic acid and folinic acid are forms of vitamin B9, which you need to keep your cells dividing and growing normally. Folic acid is also essential in the production of red blood cells. Methotrexate blocks some of the actions of folic acid, which can lead to side effects such as mouth sores, abdominal pain, liver problems, hair loss, and anemia. For some people, the side effects are bad enough that they stop taking their methotrexate.

2. Does folic acid really help reduce methotrexate side effects?

Yes. In 2013, a Cochrane review of six studies found that taking folic acid or folinic acid reduced the proportion of people on methotrexte experiencing stomach problems (from 35 percent to 25 percent), abnormal liver tests (from 21 percent to 5 percent), and mouth sores (from 22 percent to 16 percent, which was not a statistically significant difference).

Overall, fewer people dropped out of methotrexate treatment studies if they used folic acid (10 percent) than if they did not (25 percent).

3. But could taking folic acid keep my methotrexate from working?

No. Large doses of MTX are used to treat some cancers, and the drug’s anti-cancer activity results from its interference with folate. So cancer patients taking methotrexate should not take supplemental folic acid.

However, the actions of MTX on folic acid are not related to its ability to reduce inflammation and joint damage at the low doses used in treating rheumatoid arthritis, says rheumatologist Gabby Schmajuk, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco.

You can safely take folic acid without any impact on the efficacy of methotrexate.

4. Does my multivitamin give me enough folic acid?

Probably not enough if you’re on methotrexate for arthritis and trying to avoid side effects. The amount of folic acid in common multis is 400 micrograms for most adults, and up to 800 micrograms for women who are pregnant or planning to be.

But for arthritis patients, “we recommend taking a supplement with at least 1,000 micrograms, and some patients report fewer MTX side effects taking 2,000 micrograms or more,” says Dr. Schmajuk.

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“Sometimes, art can communicate what words cannot”

A new monthly art series – which draws on the experiences of people with Parkinson’s and their carers – launched last month as part of the Framing OFF Through Art initiative.  

We spoke to Julie B., the artist behind the initiative’s first piece, about what motivated her to get involved, how art can offer a “release” from symptoms – and why the initiative has given her a new perspective on her mother’s Parkinson’s


Framing OFF Through Art is a monthly art series inspired by the stories of people with Parkinson’s and their carers.

Each piece of art is made by artists with a personal connection to Parkinson’s, who partner up with people living with the condition to create art that symbolises one of their symptoms. The pieces focus on Parkinson’s ‘off’ episodes, which are the periods between treatment when symptoms re-emerge.

Artist Julie Beezy, known as Julie B. – who created the first piece last month – said: “I was honoured to be asked to be a part of this initiative. I am an artist and create pieces that can reflect many different meanings, so it was very special to create a piece that will, hopefully, help someone communicate something so complicated and emotional.”

“My mother has Parkinson’s. She was diagnosed about 10 years ago but keeps a lot of her feelings and symptoms about her diagnosis private. Working on this initiative really opened my eyes to what she experiences and how important communication is – with not only your healthcare team but your family and support system.”

For the initiative, Julie partnered with Steve Peters, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2012, and his wife and care partner, Leslie. They created ‘Reflections’ – a sculpture inspired by Steve’s journey with his condition.

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Stage IV (Very Severe) COPD: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

When you’re in stage IV of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD), years of living with the disease may have led to a lot of lungdamage. While you can’t reverse it, you can still do a lot to manage the symptoms.

Just like in the earlier stages, the more you keep up with your care and appointments, the better.

What Are the Symptoms?

Many of the symptoms you had in earlier stages, like coughing, mucus, shortness of breath, and tiredness, are likely to get worse.

Just breathing takes a lot of effort. You might feel out of breath without doing much of anything. Flare-ups may happen more often, and they tend to be more severe.

You may also get a condition called chronic respiratory failure. This is when not enough oxygen moves from your lungs into your blood, or when your lungs don’t take enough carbon dioxide out of your blood. Sometimes, both happen.

Some other problems you may notice are:

  • Crackling sound as you start to breathe in
  • Barrel chest
  • Constant wheezing
  • Out breaths that last very long

As with stage III, it gets harder to keep up with eating and exercise. That’s going to affect the strength of your muscles and your energy level. It also makes you more likely to get infections and affects your overall health. You’re more likely to have problems like arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and stroke.

How Will My Doctor Check for Stage IV?

You may get a few tests. The first is the same spirometry test used in earlier stages. Your doctor may take a measurement called “forced expiratory volume for one second” (FEV1). In Stage IV COPD, the FEVis less than 30%. You might still be in Stage IV if your FEV1 is higher.

That’s why your doctor may also check for chronic respiratory failure with these:

Arterial blood gas test. This checks the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your blood.

Pulse oximetry test. A small sensor on your finger or ear tells you how much oxygen you have in your blood.

If your FEV1 is less than 50%, but you also have chronic respiratory failure, then you may have stage IV.

How Is It Treated?

You use the same treatments from earlier stages, though you may need different doses or need some of them more often:

  • Short-term and long-term bronchodilators
  • Steroids and antibiotics
  • Pulmonary rehab plan
  • Oxygen therapy

Surgery may also be an option. You’d only get it if drugs don’t work for you. And even then, it only helps a small number of people.

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7 Omeprazole Side Effects Heartburn Sufferers Need To Know About

That fire in your chest might be the least of your problems.

Raise your hand if you want to physically rip your throat out of your neck after eating a spicy meal—or, honestly, after eating anything at all. I feel you; heartburn is no joke. Luckily, there’s a drug for that: omeprazole.

Omepra-what? You’ve probably heard of it as Prilosec or Zegerid—it’s one of the most popular treatments for chronic heartburn. You can buy it over the counter any time you’re having after-dinner indigestion, or if you’ve got a serious case of the burn, your doctor can prescribe you a stronger dosage.

The medicine’s a type of drug called a “proton-pump inhibitor.” Omeprazole works by blocking gastric acid secretion in your stomach which reduces heartburn, says Shilpa Ravella, M.D., a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

It can also be used to treat ulcers and to help patients with tumors that result in high levels of gastric acid secretion, she adds. Omeprazole can be used for a short period like a few weeks, or for a longer time, including lifetime use.

But whether you’re just popping an OTC pill to help you get through a rough patch or you need to stay on it long-term, there are some side effects of omeprazole you should definitely know about.

You’re always running to the toilet.

While most people do just fine on the medication, diarrhea is one of the most common side effects of omeprazole, Ravella says. Loose stools are never fun, but they should clear up on their own. If you’re constantly tethered to the toilet, or if you see blood in your stool, it’s time to give your doctor a call.

You can clear a room with your farts.

If the answer to “What’s that smell?!” is you, it may be due to your medication, as gas is another common side effect, Ravella says. While it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, it’s probably not a big deal.

Your stomach is cramping and you feel nauseous.

Stomach pain and nausea are another relatively common side effect of omeprazole, Ravella says. This can be frustrating since the whole point of taking the meds is to help you eat with less pain, and if omeprazole is making your stomach hurt, you’re just ruining your meal in a different way.

One possible remedy is to try taking the pill just before your meal instead of first thing in the morning, according to the Mayo Clinic. If the pain is so much that it’s interfering with your ability to eat, then call your doctor right away.

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This vaccine could help people with celiac eat gluten again, but it’s not for everyone

Gluten free pasta, one of the few foods that you can generally make taste as good as the regular version.


Despite the explosion of gluten-free food in the last few years, actually being on a physician-prescribed GF diet isn’t easy. Millions of people with celiac disease spend their lives fretting over cross-contamination at restaurants and scrutinizing labels. It’s a lot of paranoia and watching other people eat cake. Worst of all, despite interrogating waiters about which foods are safe to eat, sometimes you get glutened anyway.

For all these reasons, physicians and researchers who work with celiac patients know that staying on a gluten-free diet isn’t the simple fix that it appears to be. That’s why a company called ImmusanT has been developing an alternative: a vaccine.

We usually think of vaccines as useful for battling viruses, not autoimmune diseases, but the theory behind ImmusanT’s Nexvax2 seems sound so far. Like a normal shot, Nexvax2 exposes a patient’s immune system to a small quantity of what would otherwise be a dangerous substance. For standard vaccines, that’s a virus, but for Nexvax2 it’s gluten.

To really understand how it works, though, we have to dive a little further into what celiac actually is, because contrary to popular belief it’s not an allergy. Allergies are essentially an overreaction to something that your body is supposed to consider harmless. If you’re allergic to milk, your immune system thinks milk proteins are dangerous and will release a ton of histamines in response to their presence. This flood of histamines causes the symptoms of the allergy (some so-called allergies are actually intolerances related to how the gut breaks down certain foods, like alliums, but still aren’t autoimmune in nature). Celiac patients’ immune systems have also mischaracterized a protein, in this case gluten proteins, as being dangerous, but instead of releasing a bunch of histamines it starts attacking itself.

When people with celiac eat gluten they don’t get wheezy—they experience gastrointestinal distress as their immune systems attack their intestinal lining. If there’s enough gluten, this response damages the delicate fingers called villi that normally absorb nutrients from food. Celiac patients with damaged villi can end up malnourished if this goes on for long enough.

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How to Prepare for Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of bariatric surgery used to help people struggling with severe obesity lose weight. This is a major surgery, which will require significant recovery. If you receive surgery you will need to make major lifestyle changes.[1]Before committing yourself to this procedure talk with experts in the field about whether this is a viable option for you. If you are going to have this surgery, take steps to prepare yourself physically and mentally.

Part 1

Consulting the Experts

1.Visit your doctor. If you are interested in gastric bypass surgery, the first thing you will need to do is visit your doctor to find out whether this is a viable option for you. Your doctor will discuss the advantages and risks associated with the surgery, and will assess your need for the surgery.

 

  • You will also have to have testing done to ensure that you are a good candidate for the surgery.
  • Discuss alternatives with your doctor. Committing yourself to a healthy lifestyle is the least invasive and least risky way to lose weight.
  • There are other alternatives to gastric bypass. For example, there is the gastric sleeve, which works in a similar way to gastric bypass, but is a much less-invasive outpatient procedure.
2.Consult a specialist. Ask for a referral to a specialist in bariatric surgery. Your doctor may set up the specialist consultation for you, or you may need to contact them yourself.

 

  • Ask your specialist about what pre- and post-op resources the hospital offers to its bariatric surgery patients. The more support you have, the better.
  • Ask your specialist how experienced they are with the surgery. Just because a surgeon has less experience doesn’t mean they are not a good surgeon. However, more experienced surgeons may know how to deal with complications better.
  • Ask about complication rates. Find out how many of your specialist’s patients ended up dealing with complications after the surgery. The national average for complications related to gastric bypass surgery is 3.6%. Ideally, your specialist’s complication rate will be below that percentage.
  • Ask about your surgeon’s board certification and if their hospital is a Bariatric Center of Excellence.
  • Ask your specialist about the expected weight loss and in what time period. You should also ask about the recovery period more generally.
3.See a nutritional counselor. A big part of getting gastric bypass surgery involves learning how to live your life after the surgery is complete. The size of your stomach will be much different than it was before, and this will mean you have to change how and what you eat. Nutritional counseling will help you learn how to deal with these changes.

 

  • For example, you will learn that, as a result of the surgery, your body will not be able to absorb all the calories from the foods you eat. Thus, you will have to make sure that you are eating the right foods to keep you healthy. You will also learn that your meals will need to be smaller.
  • You might also learn that eating too many carbohydrates and/or sugary foods is likely to make you sick after your surgery.

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10 Facts About Graves’ Disease, The Thyroid Condition Affecting Wendy Williams

Williams said she is taking a break from her show for three weeks, and fans offered their support.

Josh McBride

@JoshyMcB

Sad that my girl @WendyWilliams is taking time off for 3 weeks but glad she is getting healthy. Sending love. #Wendywilliams

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sia

@Sia

i’m not crazy! i have graves disease! the shakes,the nerves. THE CRAZY!!
goodbye thyroid. i will kill you with radioactivity.

281

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146 people are talking about this

We talked with Dr. Terry J. Smith, chief medical and scientific officer of the Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation, to find out more about the condition, which is an autoimmune disease — the type of disease where your immune system goes off the rails and attacks a normal, healthy part of the body.

1. Graves’ affects the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck.

Tharakorn / Getty Images

Graves’ is a bit unusual because, instead of destroying tissue like other autoimmune diseases, people with Graves’ have abnormal antibodies that stimulate the thyroid to make way too much hormone.

Because the thyroid helps control metabolism and a bunch of other things, this condition — known as hyperthyroidism — can affect many different parts of the body.

About 1 in 200 people have Graves’ disease, or 10 million people in the US. It’s usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 30 and 50, and is 7 to 8 times more common in women than men. But it can happen at any age, and just because more women get it doesn’t mean men can’t.

2. And despite the name, the disease has nothing to do with actual graves.

Giphy / Via giphy.com

It’s named after an Irish physician named Robert Graves, who discovered it about 150 years ago.

3. There are A LOT of different symptoms, including anxiety and sweating.

Giphy / Via giphy.com

This condition can cause a bunch of symptoms that could be mistaken for other problems, including anxiety, irritability, abnormal periods, increased sweating, tremors, and more.

“The dominant symptoms can be a racing heartbeat, increased perspiration, diarrhea, increased anxiety, weight loss, and heat intolerance,” says Smith, who is also a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. “People often feel hot when others around them are comfortable or even cold.”

Other symptoms are shortness of breath, muscle weakness, fatigue, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, and chest pain. Eye problems can also be an issue, such as tearing, light sensitivity, and swelling and inflammation of the eyes causing redness, double vision, pain, and a gritty feeling.

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Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them

The sudden onset of a migraine means a dark room, bed and a cool towel for most of us. While these seem to come out of nowhere, many will find that there are usually some signs that a migraine attack is on its way. These signs can reveal a pattern in your symptoms, and even provide you with preventative tools for managing migraine. Everyone has different triggers, but there are a few common culprits that affect a large number of people living with migraine. When you can identify your triggers, you are one step closer to effectively managing your migraine and avoiding future attacks.

Tips for managing the 10 most common migraine triggers

1. Stress

Perhaps the biggest culprit of all, stress is a trigger for almost 70% of people with migraine, and one study revealed that 50-70% of people had a significant association between their daily stress level and their daily migraine activity. When you add the perpetual worry of when the next attack will strike, it can start to feel like a never-ending, exhausting cycle.

How to cope: Start by making a list of the things known to cause you undue stress and tension, and then work towards reducing these triggers in your life. Biofeedback, relaxation therapy, meditation, exercise and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can be extremely helpful in managing stress. These strategies will not eliminate all stress from your life, but they can change your body’s physiological response to stress and thus reduce the ability for stress to trigger a migraine attack.

2. Changes in or an irregular sleep schedule

The connection between migraine and sleep is undeniable. Sleep renews and repairs all parts of the body—including the brain—so it makes sense that when your sleep schedule becomes irregular, you are more prone to migraine attacks. Something else to note when it comes to sleep: Nearly half of all migraine attacks occur between 4:00am and 9:00am, putting people at a greater risk for developing a sleep disorder.

How to cope: Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Eliminate TV, texting, reading, and listening to music while in bed, and try your best not to nap during the day. This article from the AMF Resource Library has great information and tips on how to make a sleep plan that works with your lifestyle.

3. Hormones

Women are three times more likely to have migraine than men, and up to 75% of women find that they experience attacks around the time of their menstrual period. This is called “menstrual migraine,” occurring only during a women’s period due to the change in estrogen and progesterone levels.

How to cope: Besides changes in lifestyle and diet, there are some methods of birth control that can stabilize hormone levels and therefore prevent future migraine attacks. Make sure to meet with a headache specialist and/or your gynecologist so you can find the right treatment plan.

4. Caffeine and Alcohol

Many people find their migraine symptoms are heightened after consuming caffeine or alcohol. Conversely, other people say that a cup of coffee can stop their migraine symptoms, and some medications designed to fight migraine pain may contain a dose of caffeine. Although migraine patients consider red wine the principal alcoholic trigger, studies show that other types of alcohol are just as likely—and sometimes even more frequently—the culprit.

How to cope: Limit and know your limits when it comes to alcohol consumption. If you are experiencing the warning signs and symptoms of a migraine attack after drinking alcohol, take your acute (as needed) medication immediately.

5. Changes in the weather

Storms, excessive heat and changes in barometric pressure are common weather-related triggers that can lead to a migraine attack. High humidity and heat can easily lead to dehydration, another common trigger.

How to cope: We can’t control the weather, so if the current conditions are not favorable for your migraine, stay inside or adjust your schedule accordingly. If there’s an errand you need to run and it’s the middle of July in Arizona, take care of it in the morning before it gets too hot!

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8-year-old Belleville girl has beaten cancer and leukemia

Maranda Wilborn and her family have battled together to beat her first bought of cancer “rhabdomyosarcoma” and then leukemia, now Maranda’s biggest challenge is 2nd grade.

One might think that after missing kindergarten and first grade for stays in hospitals with chemotherapy and ports and blood draws and needles, a young girl might be a little angry, hurt or frustrated. She might lash out toward those who had a normal childhood, instead of entering school in the second grade.

But that’s not Maranda.

One might think that after such an ordeal, the little girl and her family might want to get it all out, to talk about any pain they went through. They might dwell on the sleepless nights at a hospital, or the financial hardships that come with being working poor and having to leave the job repeatedly to hurry a child to an emergency room.

Nope. That’s not the Wilborn family.

They focus instead on Maranda’s present and future. They look to the past only with gratitude for the help and prayers they received.

“She’s a normal kid,” says Liz Watts, Maranda’s second-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary in Belleville. Except she’s “probably exceptional in her kindness. She’s very kind.”

Maranda, who turned 8 on Thursday, was diagnosed with a rare and often deadly cancer when she was 5. After rounds of chemotherapy, she was clear of it and nearly done with treatment when she was diagnosed with leukemia. After weeks of waiting and worry, the family found that Maranda’s younger sister was a viable donor.

121818Dh Maranda Wilborn.jpg
Maranda Wilborn was diagnosed with a rare and often deadly cancer when she was 5. After rounds of chemotherapy, she was clear of it and nearly done with treatment when she was diagnosed with leukemia. After weeks of waiting and worry, the family found that Maranda’s younger sister was a viable donor. Derik Holtmann DHOLTMANN@BND.COM

What the Wilborns focus on is their luck that a family member could donate bone marrow, that God would provide for them in such a way. And they remain awed by the kindness of the community, from the anonymous donors who made it possible for them to keep bills paid to the mechanic who fixed their vehicle for free.

“This is my responsibility,” mom Myiesha Wilborn says a new mechanic told her and her husband, Randy, when their vehicle needed new tires and other repairs. “You take care of her.”

During this season of believing, the Wilborns focus on the prayers from strangers that, they have said, lifted their spirits in tough times.

“At the time, we fell into a deep financial problems,” Randy said. The contributions “took a lot off us” and let the family visit with Maranda when she had longer hospital stays.

They’re grateful that Maranda’s younger sister, Myriah, was a viable bone marrow donor. They’re grateful that older brother, Randy Jr., is healthy, too.

Myriah, then barely 5, had fun at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Myiesha said. She was excited to finally be where her big sister was, although the girls had to be kept separated before the donation. Myriah got to order all the hospital foods that her sister had been eating, and they watched a lot of movies.

Myiesha stayed with Myriah the night after the girl’s bone marrow was taken, and the little chatterbox was excited all night long. She kept wanting to order food and see her sister.

Finally, the girls could see one another again. Myriah climbed into the hospital bed with her big sister.

121819DH Maranda and sister.jpg
Maranda Wilborn and her younger sister, Myriah. Maranda was diagnosed with a rare and often deadly cancer when she was 5. After rounds of chemotherapy, she was clear of it and nearly done with treatment when she was diagnosed with leukemia. After weeks of waiting and worry, the family found that Maranda’s younger sister was a viable donor. Derik HoltmannDHOLTMANN@BND.COM

“The moment her blood started to go into Maranda’s body, (Myriah) fell asleep,” their mother said. And just days later, Myiesha knew her daughter would be fine.

They focus on Jefferson School, where all three of their children now attend. It was Jefferson that first alerted the media to their needs, and subsequent stories led to more than $9,000 in contributions to a GoFundMe account that enabled the family to stay solvent.

Maranda’s favorite books are the Biscuit series, and she gets special reading help and an hour of tutoring after school every day to help keep her on track.

“She’s really blossoming,” Watts said, and is making friends as well as improving academically.

Maranda has had some balance issues, which were expected after all the trauma, but is largely completely recovered, her parents said.

“She can take off and run around all day, but at certain times” she stumbles, Randy said.

And Myiesha is thrilled to watch her daughter’s hair grow. Maranda still covers her scalp with an always-fashionable scarf that she can now tie herself, but silky curls peek from underneath.

“If you ask me, it’s real pretty,” Myiesha said. “This time, it’s much much prettier and soft and really curly.”

12 Things I Wish People Knew About Lyme Disease

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and over on Instagram, I’ve been sharing some tidbits about Lyme disease that a lot of folks don’t know (I certainly didn’t before I came down with it). Lyme is a disease that most people have heard of but is incredibly misunderstood.

Being a Lyme Disease sufferer is exhausting because of the disease itself, but also because of the incredible amount of advocacy work you have to do for yourself and your disease. There are so many questions to answer and misconceptions to fight!

Since I was diagnosed six months ago, I’ve been collecting the most frequently asked questions I get and figured I’d pull them together into one post to finish up the month of May. Hopefully this post will help clear up some questions.

1. Everything about Lyme Disease is controversial.

This is probably the first thing you should know about Lyme Disease. Everything (yes EVERYTHING) about it is controversial. I’ve had multiple health care professionals say to me that Lyme is *the* most hotly debated topic in the medical community right now. We’ll cover some of why it’s so controversial later in this post, but what you need to know is this: all this controversy hurts exactly one group of people—the patients. It makes navigating the entire process—from getting diagnosed to affording treatment—100x harder for sick people. Which is just…wrong.

2. There is no reliable blood test for Lyme Disease.

This is maybe the most important piece of information I can give you, and something I wish I knew before I got sick: there is NO reliable blood test for Lyme Disease. A negative Lyme Disease test does not mean you don’t have Lyme Disease. I should know– I had two negatives before I was diagnosed.

Lyme AB Screen Test Result - About Lyme Disease

If you walk into your family doctor and ask for a Lyme test, they’ll probably give you the standard test that misses roughly 55% of cases of Lyme. And worst of all, many health care professionals don’t know that it is this inaccurate. There are more sensitive tests out there that are more accurate, but they aren’t perfect and are extremely expensive (and rarely covered by insurance).

Lyme, at its heart, is an immune-suppressor. The Lyme blood tests are testing for Lyme antibodies in your system. If Lyme is suppressing your immune system enough that you aren’t producing the antibodies—guess what? You get a negative test. Many people don’t test positive for Lyme until *after* they’ve started treatment.

This is why the vast majority of Lyme doctors consider Lyme disease to be a clinical diagnosis—based off of symptoms and history—and not a laboratory diagnosis based off test results.

3. Testing a tick for Lyme is easier, more reliable, and more affordable than testing a human.

If you find a tick that has bitten you, SAVE IT. If you start to show any symptoms, you can then mail a tick into a reputable lab for testing (I like to use this non-profit service from the University of Massachusetts). It’s much easier, faster, more reliable, and more affordable to test a tick as opposed to testing a human.

Just this past week, we mailed in a tick that we found under Juni’s earlobe. The bite was looking a little bit off, and I figured $50 to get the tick tested was worth it not to worry. The report was texted to me two days later and it was all negative.

iPhone screen showing test results from a tick - about Lyme Disease

Now I just know it looks nasty because she’s a three-year-old who won’t stop scratching it! Not because she possibly has Lyme or other tick-borne infections. Best $50 I ever spent. Way better than the almost $1000 I spent on getting my (less accurate) Lyme testing done last fall.

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